Whether the work involved building garage doors or developing a more nutritious school lunch pizza, companies involved in Troy’s enterprise zone program reported a successful 2013.
Jim Dando, city development director, briefly discussed successes at Clopay, the garage door maker, and ConAgra, the pizza maker, during the Feb. 28 annual meeting of the Troy Enterprise Zone Tax Incentive Review Council.
“All of the companies report they are doing well. I am very much encouraged,” Dando said.
The review panel recommended continuation of the six enterprise zone agreements with five companies to the Troy City Council.
Dando said all companies continue to meet agreement requirements, some far exceeding the number of jobs they pledged to create.
Clopay’s enterprise zone agreement was approved in 2006 as part of the Russia-based company’s move of operations to the former Panasonic plant at State Route 55 and Interstate 75.
Clopay, at full utilization of the 1-million square foot building, has relocated a couple of product lines back to buildings the company owns in Russia because they ran out of space, Dando said.
“They knew that eventually they would fill that space (in Troy) … well, they did it. They figured it would take longer,” he said.
One of the company’s changes has been the purchase of a machine to produce locally Styrofoam/metal panels for the doors, Dando said. Materials previously were purchased and shipped to Troy for cut to fit.
“They were able to take advantage of the recession and improve,” he said.
Clopay committed to 555 Troy jobs. At the end of 2013, it reported 874 jobs.
At ConAgra, located in expanded facilities at the former Dinner Bell property of Dye Mill Road, the focus has turned to pizza although it continues Slim Jim production locally, Dando said.
The company’s school lunch pizza had not changed for a long time, but revised nutrition standards resulted in adjustments in the pizza product, Dando said. The crust has been changed so it is lighter and cuts down some on calories, he said.
Company officials reported that similar technology would be applied to other ConAgra food lines, Dando said. As a side note, he mentioned the company last year opened an onsite health clinic staffed by medical professionals.
ConAgra has two enterprise zone agreements. It, too, has exceeded employment pledges and reported 711 employees at year’s end.
Other enterprise zone agreements include:
- One with automotive parts manufacturer F&P America. The company pledged 523 positions with its agreement. It reported 673 full-time employees and a fluctuating number of temporary workers.
- Ishmael Precision Tool Corporation, which pledged to keep 20 jobs and add 12 in its agreement. Year-end employment was 38.
- American Honda Motor Co. Inc. pledged to keep 337 positions and create 110 more full time and 20 part-time temporary positions As of Dec. 31, it has 576 full-time equivalent jobs along with 102 temporary workers.
Dando, as he has for the past few years, explained to the review council that changes in state tax codes, particularly the tangible personal property tax, made the enterprise zone program less attractive to companies. The program today can benefit companies undertaking a major real estate project such as a new building or major addition.
The incentive review council also heard a report on activity in the Troy Towne Park Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district.
Gregg Harris, the city’s assistant development director, reported the city received $235,542 in TIF payments in 2013, making a bond payment of $129,500. Since the TIF in the area of the Troy Towne Center was started in 2003, the property valuation has grown to over $14 million, he said.
The TIF program provides financing for public improvements by setting aside part of the future property tax payments on developed properties to pay off the bond. The TIF includes payments to the city schools with remaining income going to bond payments and other expenses.
“The total annual collected TIF payments are still paying off the bond-financed road improvements as planned,” Harris wrote in a written report to the review council. “The new businesses there have also generated significant sales taxes for Miami County and city income taxes for Troy.”
The review council voted to also recommend city council continues the TIF in 2014.