PILOT proposal sought for Bayer upgrade

By BRIAN GRAVES

Posted 11/14/17

Bradley County commissioners were asked Monday to approve a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes program for the expansion and upgrade of the Bayer plant on Michigan Avenue.Doug Berry, Cleveland/Bradley Chamber …

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PILOT proposal sought for Bayer upgrade

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Bradley County commissioners were asked Monday to approve a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes program for the expansion and upgrade of the Bayer plant on Michigan Avenue.

Doug Berry, Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce vice president of economic development, said the company is planning an expansion in three phases.

The request by Berry came on behalf of the Industrial Development Board.

"This is the result of around a year and a half of dialogue we have had with the company as their new ownership has settled in and they have been evaluating all of the acquired facilities they have with their purchase of the Merck project," Berry said.

Berry said during his eight years in Bradley County, this is the third owner under which the plant has operated.

"As your economic development professional, that does provide us with a little bit of concern in that they are in a cycle of sales to other corporations," he said. "Our approach as an industrial board has been quite simply to have us as a community make sure that this current owner, as they evaluate whether or not to maintain this plan of operation, that they understand we respect and appreciate this long-term partnership they have provided us."

The total for the three-phase expansion is estimated to be $38 million over the next five years.

The proposed PILOT in front of the commission will allow a 37.5 percent discount on what the company would pay in property taxes for the first phase.

According to the resolution, the project will result in the direct payment of taxes to Bradley County in an estimated amount of $346,685 and to the city of Cleveland of $418,035.

Phase 2 will include an upgrade of existing production rooms and Phase 3 will involve the acquisition of certain machinery and equipment to close liquids, ointments and creams processes.

According to Berry, the plant employs 376 with an annual payroll of $39.3 million, as well as 126 temporary employees earning approximately $3.7 million yearly in support of seasonal production fluctuations.

Commissioners are expected to vote on the proposal next Monday afternoon.

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