Bradley County commissioners were asked Monday to consider amending a tax abatement agreement with Mars Chocolate North America. The Commission will vote on the agreement Nov. 4. The Cleveland City Council approved the same proposal Monday.
Doug Berry, vice president of Economic Development for the Chamber of Commerce, presented the Mars Chocolate North America 2013 amendment to the 2012 payment in lieu of taxes to Bradley County Commission members at their work session Monday night.
The company determined the need for an additional investment of $10,134,797 for new equipment purchases and modification of existing equipment to expand the Twix product lines. The investment will result in four new part-time positions and make existing employment more stable.
It would also result in a PILOT agreement with Bradley County of an estimated $87,000.
The original PILOT agreed to a seven-year term ending on Dec. 31, 2018, and the amendment would be applicable for the remainder of the term if approved by the Commission.
The request to have the amendment to the PILOT placed on the agenda next week was approved. Seventh District Commissioner Bill Winters added it to the agenda.
An audience member brought forward concerns and questions about the PILOT, which Berry addressed. Vice Chairman J. Adam Lowe, 4th District, further explained the economic effects of the PILOT.
“I’ll keep reminding everybody, when it comes to corporate taxes and industrial taxes, we make more money on the dollar than we spend in bringing those folks to the community, so it’s still subsidizing property taxes to where our property taxes stay low,” Lowe said.
Sixth District Commissioner Mel Griffith placed a rezoning request on the agenda for the next voting session.
County Planner Bentley Thomas explained the situation.
The request was for a residence on Greendale Lane in McDonald. The residence was formerly commercial due to an office within the home, but the office is no longer there. The owner has requested rezoning back to a Forestry/Agricultural /Residential zone.
Another request for rezoning, off of Waterlevel Highway, was also placed on the agenda. The applicant wanted to refurbish a sign, but the Tennessee Department of Transportation is requiring the lot to be rezoned as commercial before it will allow this to be done.
Fifth District Commissioner Jeff Yarber brought Foundation House Ministries before the Commission.
Suzanne Burns, executive director of Foundation House Ministries, discussed the need to give assistance to pregnant teens.
“Our program is going to be very individualized and very specific to each young woman, so that she gets the helps that she needs so that her life is different,” Burns said.
She referenced a statistic from 2011 on teen pregnancy, which said that Tennessee ranks ninth in the 10 worst states for teen pregnancy. Within Tennessee, Bradley county ranked 40th and Polk county ranked 70th, with 1 being the fewest number of teen births.
Burns asked Commission members for support and told them that Foundation House offers girls opportunities to realize their potential by equipping them through education, empowering them through counseling and encouragement, and teaching them through hands-on experience.
More information can be found at www.FoundationHouse Ministries.org or by calling Burns at 423-400-2753. It can also be found on Facebook.