Commission OKs Mars amendment
by JOYANNA LOVE Banner Senior Staff Writer
Nov 05, 2013 | 867 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Bradley County Commission approved a sweet deal in the form of an amendment to a payments in lieu of taxes agreement for Mars Chocolate North America during a meeting Monday.

The amendment adds an additional $10.1 million worth of equipment and other personal property to the PILOT agreement. These upgrades will ensure that cookies, caramel and chocolate with continue to blend into Twix bars locally.

The Cleveland plant manufactures all of the Twix bars made in North America.

Four part-time positions will be created by the $10.1 million investment.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to grow in Cleveland,” said Joe Burton, Mars Cleveland site director. “We have been in the Cleveland area for 35 years.”

The sweet smell of chocolate may seem stronger in Bradley County, since local operations have expanded more than originally thought.

What was described to local government as a $67 million at the approval of the initial PILOT has become a nearly $91 million investment in chocolate making machinery and other equipment.

Burton said this initial investment created 30 new positions at the plant

Instead of paying the taxes that would have been due, the company will pay $87,000 to the county and an additional $84,000 to the city.

The Commission also heard an update from property assessor Stanley Thompson on when tax statements will be mailed out.

“We are still working on them. We really thought they would be out by the middle of the October,” Thompson said.

He said the software he used to do the appraisals was not easily compatible with the state software.

“Right now the state has three different versions that it is using,” Stanley said.

He said two are older software versions and the newest one is one he did not want to switch to. Instead, the department chose a private company’s software. The difference in software has caused some delays.

When statements are mailed out they will be accurate, according to Stanley.

“We have double-checked them and triple-checked them,” Stanley said.

Once the data software issues are corrected, the issue goes to a printing company to be printed and sent out.

Stanley said other counties are also having issues

Fourth District Commissioner J. Adam Lowe asked if the timeline for payments would change.

Stanley said people still have until February to pay the property taxes due.

Tax statements for Charleston have already been mailed out.

Also during the meeting the Commission approved:

n Arnold Botts to fill the rest of Bruce Bradford’s term on the fire board.

n A rezoning request for a piece of property on Greendale Lane from Rural Commercial (C1) to Forestry/Agricultural /Residential, or FAR. Property owner Ron Tripp said he would like to have his land rezoned because he only has an office on the property, not a business with customers coming and going.

n Rezoning for a piece of property on Waterlevel Highway from Forestry/Agricultural/ Residential to Rural Commercial (C1).