County commissioners at their Nov. 13 meeting didn’t approve the exact agreement that the city council did previously.
The city approved an abatement which spans 10 years, but includes four years of 100 percent tax abatement.
For 2017 and 2018, the abatement drops to 80 percent. In 2019 and 2020, the abatement becomes 50 percent, and in 2021, it drops to 30 percent. By 2022, it is only 10 percent.
Commissioner Carlos Salazar reminded his fellow commissioners that they are not obligated to follow the agreement reached by the city.
“This is not set in concrete,” he said.
Salazar said that the court back in 2008 had approved a general abatement policy that was similar to the one proposed to the court.
“There are minor differences in the overall money that is going to be saved,” Salazar said. “The county would gain a little more if we went with the policy figures we adopted in 2008.”
County Judge David Silva reminded commissioners, “Another way of looking at it is we are getting very little from that property right now.” Silva said the county will still receive taxes money for the value of the property under the agreement — just not for the value of the building.
According to the county’s policy, the abatement is 100 percent for the first five years on the new building. At year six, the amount drops to 75 percent, and by year seven, the amount becomes 50 percent.
By year eight, the amount dips to 35 percent, and by year nine, it becomes 15 percent. At year 10, it becomes 10 percent.
Greg Chumchal, general manager at Ranch Hand, said that construction of the 82,000-square-foot building is already underway.
“It is a manufacturing facility,” he said. “We would like to hire another 50 people here in Beeville.
“Beeville has been very good to us.
“The labor force has been very good to us.
“We plan to make our home in Beeville.”
Commissioner Dennis DeWitt added, “What I see in this proposal is a $4.7 million investment not counting the price of the land.”
Chumchal continued, “I would like to be up and running in March or April of this year.”
The building, he said, would likely be completed by February. “By the time you get people and equipment in it, it will be March or April before we are up and running.”
About five months ago, Ranch Hand hosted a job fair at the Beeville Community Center seeking applicants for its proposed expansion.
About 150 people applied for the positions.
Chumchal said, “We are looking at hiring around 50 people.
“Honestly, that is a little conservative. It will probably be more like 60 by the time it is all said and done.
“We currently have 27.”
Commissioners had previously discussed the abatement during an October meeting.
Their concern at that time was that no one from Ranch Hand had come to them directly to discuss the issue.
“They usually come before the taxing entity and make their case,” Salazar said during the Oct. 22 meeting. “This business has not come before us. We need to table this.”
The other concern was that they were the only business to have requested an abatement despite several large companies, most oil related, coming into the county recently.
Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 121, or at editor@mySouTex.com.