Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Council OKs deal to secure 262 jobs at Midway Station

By Alexandria Kerns
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

The Midway City Council approved a deal Monday night that will bring a natural-gas line to Midway Station, securing the Lakeshore Learning Materials distribution center to be built there.

The permit to grade the site was issued Tuesday.
The council voted unanimously for Midway to pay $450,000 toward the $2.8 million needed to build the line. Columbia Gas will pay $700,000 of the cost, the state will pay $1,350,000, and the Woodford County Economic Development Authority will pay $300,000, which it already promised to use for gas.

“Lakeshore Learning Materials said that they could not come to Midway without gas at Midway Station,” Mayor Grayson Vandegrift said. “In order to save the project, which would be the largest employer in the city’s history, and get much needed gas to Midway Station we began to work out some deals. . . . The initial request to Midway was far more than I thought was fair to ask Midway. I think what we’ve come up with is a very good solution.” He said the state “really, really stepped up, big time.”

Midway will pay the $450,000 over five years. The payments will began on December 31, 2017 and the first payment will be $64,933. Midway would get this money back if EDA sells the remaining 22 acres optioned from the Roach family at the industrial park.

“You can make a very good argument that once Midway Station has gas, the entire property is much more marketable,” Vandergrift said. “Had we not done this, we would have had an empty 43 acres of land and no gas – and no jobs coming in.”

Vandegrift also told the council that as Lakeshore hires more employees, the money from the occupational tax revenue will more than cover the city’s expense to pay for gas to Midway Station.

Data from the state Economic Development Cabinet show that in the first 13 years Lakeshore will generate $1,585,025 in occupational tax revenue. An auto-parts  factory being built in Midway Station, the American Howa Kentucky auto-parts plant, will generate $381,628 in occupational tax in its first 13 years. Together the two factories will generate $1,966,653 in payroll taxes during the period.

For the next three years, until Lakeshore’s payroll reaches at least 262 employees, they will have to pay the full 2 percent payroll tax.  After the company employs at least 262 people they will pay only 1.5 percent, for 10 years, as part of the incentive package to bring the plant to Kentucky.

The council passed on second reading an ordinance that authorizes $50 million in industrial revenue bonds for the plant. This part of the incentive package will exempt Lakeshore from property taxes, but it will pay the Woodford County Schools an amount equal to what it would pay in taxes.

John Soper, chairman of the Economic Development Authority, said the closing on the property was held Tuesday afternoon and Lakeshore could break ground on the property as early as Wednesday.

Park business

With the council’s approval, Vandergrift appointed five members to the park board that the council recently created: John Holloway, Cecelia Gass, Council Member Sara Hicks, Regina Morris, and Liles Taylor. Up to two more members can be appointed to the board.

Vandergrift thanked the members of the Walter Bradley Park citizen advisory committee, which he created a year ago to help make the park more attractive to visitors.  Vandergrift issued individual proclamations for each committee members to celebrate all of their hard work. Chair Cecelia Gass and members Dottie Cordray, Steve Simoff and Milan Hamilton and Holloway were on hand.

“They achieved far more than anyone expected them to achieve,” Vandegrift said. “It’s really an incredible accomplishment that I think we will remember for years to come.” A ribbon-cutting was held Sunday for the pedestrian bridge across Lee Branch, built by Holloway, other volunteers and city employees.

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