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Commissioners Decline Approval of Tax Abatements

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By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

HOUSTON COUNTY – An agenda item to consider a tax abatement for a manufacturer of recycled oil failed to garner a motion during a meeting of the Houston County Commissioner’s Court held on Tuesday, Dec. 11.

The manufacturer, Texas Futura, plans to open a facility in Crockett’s Industrial Park. According to an executive summary on the projected economic impact of the company, “Texas Futura is a planned waste-oil re-refinery facility in the Crockett Industrial Park. The facility, on about four acres of land will consist of 2,000 square feet of office space; 3,000 square feet for a control tower, employee breakroom, restrooms, etc.; 7,500 square feet for refinery operations and another 5,000 square feet of space for storage tanks.”

Crockett Economic and Industrial Development Corporation (CEIDC) Executive Director James Gentry was present at the meeting and said the company had requested a 10-year tax abatement which would be made up through the economic impact Texas Futura would create in Houston County.

“They will have a total number of 31 direct and indirect jobs. There would be a total number of 17 direct jobs, with three workers who would move to the city of Crockett,” he said.

The salaries created for direct and indirect workers over the 10-year period would be $11,360,073. Taxable sales and purchases created in Crockett would be $5,047,731 over the same 10-year period and the facility’s assets added to local tax rolls would be $3,150,000, according to the CEIDC executive director.

“These revenues will aid the city, the county, the schools and hospital districts and help prop up sagging revenues and help improve services and the quality of life for local citizens,” Gentry said.

Following Gentry’s presentation Houston County Judge Jim Lovell asked if he could get a motion on the matter. No motion was forthcoming and the judge asked once again.

Again, he was met with silence.

“Hearing none, this matter dies for lack of a motion at this time,” Lovell said.

Before moving on, Lovell asked Gentry if he had any questions about why the matter died and the CEIDC director said he did.

Precinct Two Commissioner Willie Kitchen said the court “… would like to see something other than paper. There is no site plan included in the proposal. I think we want to see the investors show some money and bring some proof this is going to happen.”

Kitchen added he was only speaking for himself but added the abatement would probably be easier to get if the investors provided tangible proof of their intent.

“This county, even before this, has had bad experiences with abatements of this length. It probably would have been received if we had started with five (years) max or even one. Then, at the end of that, we could re-assess it,” Kitchen said.

“Do you think they would consider a shorter abatement?” the judge asked.

Gentry said the company wanted to send a message that they were going to be in Crockett for the long haul and not just for a season.

Lovell further added legislated revenue caps of a proposed 2.5 percent in tax hikes also factored into the court’s decision, while Kitchen said he would like to see sanctions spelled out in any ratified contract which specified penalties for breaking said contract.

The city of Crockett had previously tabled the matter for further consideration.

In other matters brought before the court:

  • The commissioners approved the minutes from previous meetings.
  • The payment of bills and expenses incurred by the county was approved.
  • The Houston County Environmental and Community Service reports were received as information by the court.
  • The court approved a contract extension between the Deep East Texas Council of Governments and Houston County Aging Services.
  • A Certificate of Compliance for the Houston County Jail – issued by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards – was accepted by the court as information.
  • Veterans Service Officer Fred Newtz was approved to move from full-time to part-time.
  • The court approved the purchase of a 1991 low-mileage Dodge truck for use in Precinct Two.

 

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.