Advanced Ag Resources updates tax abatement status

By Emma Rausch

Despite a heavy rain season last year, Advanced Ag Resources met its quota and hired on additional employees, fulfilling its tax abatement agreement.

Company president Bobby Hettmansperger spoke with the Wabash County Council on Monday, March 28, to present the company’s review of its Personal Property Tax Abatement.

The company requested the 10-year abatement in 2013 and established in 2014.

“This to qualify that I’ve met my deliverables, or the contract for the abatement,” Hettmasnsperger told the council.

The abatement allowed to company to invest in post-production equipment for treating and packaging seed corn, according to Hettmansperger.

“Our production acres have decreased quite a bit and last year we lost 75 acres of seed production because of Mother Nature,” he said, “but because of the equipment that we purchased and installed, we were able to fill our quota incapacity of that facility with outside production vendors looking for a place to give additional trading values.

“So it kept my employees in place … and put two more in on full time.”

In the original abatement, the company agreed to employ 17 laborers, an increase from its original 13 employees.

Today, the company employs 20 workers, both full and part-time.

“It’s worked out really well for us and we appreciate the opportunity,” Hettmansperger said.

Before voting to approve the report, Chairman Mike Ridenour questioned if the council should even be reviewing the abatement’s report since the County Tax Abatement Committee had not reviewed it.

“Are these reports and requests for on-going annually, do they not go in front of the committee to check all the criteria are still being met before it’s presented to council,” Ridenour asked, “That’s what I thought the process (was).”

Councilman Randy Curless, who is also on the committee, said, “I don’t think we’ve ever met to review on one. We do that to approve it.”

Ridenour asked the council if it should dismiss the review until the committee could meet and review it and then have the report represented at another meeting.

“I figure given this particular circumstance, I guess I would say vote for approval,” Curless told the council.

Vice chairman Bill Ruppel added, “If this is how we’ve done it in the past, bringing it here and now to review, I think we’re changing … the rules and we’re being a little late.

“I think we need to go like we’ve done in the past, but make a rule change so it can be done in February.”

The council approved the abatement in a 6-1 vote, Ridenour against.

“I’m going to vote nay,” Ridenour said, “and just to let you know, it’s not because I’m against the information on (the report), but the information that’s on here I’m not clear of, I’m not certain of, so I’m just not going to vote yes.”

Posted on 2016 Apr 05