General Broach given tax abatement 9.24

Written by David Green.

A standard 12-year tax abatement was approved Monday for Morenci’s General Broach Company, although the decision wasn’t completed without some discussion on the issue of tax breaks.

Mark Miller and Larry Stover of General Broach explained the need for new equipment during a public hearing at the city council hearing.

A few years ago, Miller said, about 90 percent of the company’s business was related to the automotive industry. Today, about 85 percent of the cutting tools they produce are for use in the aerospace industry.

Stover said the company is not only changing the focus of its work, but it’s also broadening its horizons with contracts from other countries.

Former planning commission member Gary Valentine stated that granting an abatement doesn’t guarantee that a company will remain in town, even though a business may threaten to leave if an abatement isn’t granted. When he was a commissioner, an abatement was approved for Morenci Engineered Rubber Products, he said, and the company was gone within a year.

“Sometimes we need to watch what we’re doing here because it will be with us for a long time,” Valentine said.

He asked what an abatement on $852,000 equates to in lost taxes, but neither General Broach nor city officials had an answer.

Stover was asked about job creation and he noted the company employed 45 workers five years ago. The current level is at 74. There was very rapid growth and much slower growth currently.

Additional overseas contracts would increase job needs, he said, as would new ventures such as creating broaches to serve the rapidly growing wind energy industry.

Granting abatements, said councilor Keith Pennington, shows the city’s support for an industry, and the 50 percent of taxes still paid is better than none at all.

A tax break not only helps a company stay in town, said mayor Doug Erskin, but it allows the company to explore other development.

“We want to progress,” he said. “If we limit them, no progression is made.”

Pennington added that attention is often focused on bringing in new companies, but council can’t minimize what’s already here providing jobs.

“We’re here to stay, believe me,” Stover said.

  • Front.splash
    Water Fun—Carter Seitz and Colson Walter take a fast trip along a plastic sliding strip while water from a sprinkler provides the lubrication. The boys took a break from tie-dyeing last week at Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program to cool off in the water.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.drum
    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • Front.train
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