Input wanted on tax break for warehouses

Shawn Hardy

The Greencastle-Antrim School Board wants to meet with Antrim Township supervisors and Franklin County commissioners before making a decision on the tax break requested by the developer proposing to build five warehouses in Antrim Township.

Brent Miles, vice president of NorthPoint Development, presented the project on property currently owned by ATAPCO off U.S. 11 south of Greencastle near Exit 3 of Interstate 81 to the board Feb. 2. His Kansas-based company is proposing five warehouses with combined square footage of 4,066,000. He gave job creation estimates ranging from 2,000 to 4,000, typically paying $15 to $20 an hour.

He asked the board for a property tax cut exceeding what is already offered in its Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance zone. The district's LERTA features a property tax discount of 100 percent the first year, decreasing in 10 percent increments over 10 years.

His proposed A-plus LERTA would be 90 percent in years 1 to 6; 70 percent in year 7; 50 percent in year 8; 30 percent in year 9; and 10 percent in year 10. Using very rough numbers, that would be $600,000 less for the district a year than under the existing tax structure for the first building, according to Jolinda "JC" Wilson, the district's chief financial officer and acting superintendent. She also ran the figures for an A-minus version that would give the district $360,000 less.

When Wilson polled board members at the Feb. 16 meeting, six indicated they favor holding the course with the existing tax break, which was termed the B version, while two indicated interest in the A-minus compromise.

NorthPoint is "asking for a huge discount on something we've already discounted," said board member Michael Still.

The district receives 80 percent of property taxes, while 20 percent go to the county, which is why the board wants to meeting with commissioners.

Miles also spoke to commissioners earlier this month and during his presentation to the board on Feb. 2 "I think I got a maybe."