Bradley County Commission members unanimously approved a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement Monday for Mars Chocolate North America and a memorandum of understanding concerning the proposed veterans home.
The understanding between the city, county and Tennessee Department of General Services specifies the city of Cleveland will allocate $2,010,010 and Bradley County will contribute $5,010,010 with $3 million in the form of an anonymous donor.
The memorandum of understanding designates funding shares and which entity is responsible for certain preliminary tasks such as environmental studies, plans, surveys and soil investigations. The city and county will be responsible for obtaining all necessary infrastructure up to the home site, including all utilities, fire protection and roads.
The state is responsible for paving and stormwater improvements on the site at 1940 Westland Drive. Steve Williams, Thomas Williams, Robert Wright and their families donated the 28 acres. Environmental testing should be completed by the end of September. Once the land studies are completed, the site could accept the property into its inventory.
The proposed facility is designed for 108 beds built in clusters arranged in a more homelike and neighborhood setting.
The PILOT agreement covers all personal property acquired in connection with the installation of two new assembly lines for its M&Ms and Twix products, and to expand an existing line for its newest candy, Pretzel M&Ms.
Doug Berry, Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce vice president for Economic Development, said the company initiated $23 million of improvements in 2010, which are not part of the PILOT agreement. The agreement covers $67 million invested in 2011 and 2012.
Mars Chocolate North America announced the two-year project in April 2011 that is expected to add 38 full-time positions to the existing 493 jobs, resulting in a total annual payroll of $40.5 million.
The agreement reduces the manufacturer’s annual tax payments 50 percent on the new equipment for the seven years between Jan. 1, 2012, and Dec. 31, 2018. The reduction results in taxes owed to Bradley County in the estimated amount of $652,588 and $542,755 to the city of Cleveland.
The PILOT is a standard agreement negotiated by the industrial development board.
Commissioner Bill Winters said he is proud Mars Chocolate is in the 7th District. He said the company does “great work” in the community.
“I know Mars personnel on a personal level and highly recommend we do a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes for Mars Chocolate,” Winters said.