Chesterton Tribune



Firm's tax abatement draws questions in Burns Harbor

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The Burns Harbor Town Council wants to hear from Indiana Flame Services why it is short the number of employees it vowed to retain in its agreement for a five-year tax abatement.

The Council on Monday saw copies of IFS’ CF-1 compliance form for 2016 pay 2017 and observed that the company reported having 36 employees currently but one of the conditions of the abatement stipulates that the 42 employees it had in 2013 must be retained through five years, as well as adding four more employees at $203,000 total increase in salaries.

The previous Town Council had awarded the tax abatement on the basis that IFS would put in $155,000 of new equipment resulting in a few additional employees.

Clerk Treasurer Jane Jordan told the Council Wednesday that IFS had complied with its equipment side, despite the discrepancy regarding the number of employees.

Town Attorney Christine McWilliams said that although the number has decreased, the amount of salaries is within $18,000 of what IFS would need to be paying.

The Council contemplated a motion made by member Andy Bozak for the abatement to continue as part of the agreement is being fulfilled. Council President Ray Poparad said since this is not the last year for the abatement, IFS could still hire the employees needed and comply with the salaries within the abatement period.

Jordan said that the Council could wait until its next meeting before voting. Bozak withdrew his motion after Poparad asked Jordan to invite IFS to July’s Council meeting to elaborate on the issues.

From the audience, Town Redevelopment Commission member Nick Loving aired his opinion that “it’s a horrible idea to give a tax abatement to a company when they failed to (comply).”

To keep a check on tax abatements, the Council passed a resolution that its president must sign the compliance forms before they are given to the Porter County Assessor’s Office.

Jordan said the Town’s only other current abatement is the one with Praxair which had submitted its forms to the Town some time ago and was judged to be in compliance.



Posted 6/9/2016




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