Hopewell Township Supervisor David Winsom said he is not surprised that no residents offered comments during a public hearing concerning a tax incentive program to bring Johnson Controls to the area.
"I've already heard pretty much positive feedback from (residents) that it would be good for us," he said. "We're talking about a $60 million building, over 400 jobs in a bad economy. If a Fortune 500 company comes knocking at your door, I wouldn't say that it's bad news."
The public hearing was held Thursday before Hopewell Township's Board of Supervisors. About a dozen people attended the hearing. However, attendees mainly were county officials and law firm respresentatives working with Johnson Controls.
The township is considering a proposal to create a Stonebridge Tax Increment District that would allow Johnson Controls to forgo paying three taxing bodies for its increased assessment on property improvement for 20 years if it moves from Spring Garden Township to Hopewell Township.
The taxing bodies are York County, South Eastern School District and Hopewell Township. The county commissioners and the school district have approved the Tax Increment Financing plan, or TIF.
The board of supervisors will not discuss the plan until it is placed on the agenda and the public is informed as to when the discussion and voting meeting will happen, said Andrew Miller, the township's solicitor.
He said the board will schedule that meeting during its reorganization session at 7 p.
Three weeks: With Thursday's hearing done, township supervisors have three weeks to decide whether the township will agree to a tax incentive plan.
Hopewell Township would need to approve the tax incentive plan for it to go through. The three taxing bodies would, under the deal, continue to receive tax payments on the land, a 57-acre property in the Stonebridge Business Park just off the Shewsbury exit on Interstate 83.
The Milwaukee-based company, which manufactures heating, cooling and ventilation systems, also is considering moving to a site in Maryland.
During Thursday's hearing in Hopewell Township, Adam Tkaczuk, vice president of financial advisory service Duff & Phelps, which is working on the project for Johnson Controls, said the possible Stonebridge site has been underdeveloped since the 1970s, when it was zoned as industrial.
The facility project would include a test lab building and global engineering center, and would take about five years to build, Tkaczuk said. Then Johnson Controls would bring in 440 employees receiving an average salary of $88,000, he said.
Taxes: If Johnson Controls builds a $148 million facility there, the company will pay 10 percent of the land's assessed value in township taxes during the first year of development. That figure will climb 10 percent each year during the following 10 years.
But as part of the TIF incentive, the county and township won't receive any money during a 20-year time period. Instead, the manufacturer will pay property taxes to a third-party bond holder that will use the money to pay for infrastructure, such as roads and sewers, near the site.
South Eastern School District, on the other hand, would receive money. As part of the TIF plan, the company would agree to make voluntary payments of $200,000 to the district in years 2013, 2014 and 2015, Tkaczuk said.
During the course of 20 years, the school district is expected to receive 30 percent of tax revenue from the $148 million facility. He estimated South Eastern would collect about $17 million throughout two decades.
In favor: Darrell Auterson, president and chief executive officer of the York County Economic Development Corp., told township supervisors he is in favor of the plan, as it could encourage Johnson Controls to remain in the county as well as benefit the area with job creation.
"When an opportunity presents itself, it's critical to use every tool we have at our disposal," he said.
After the hearing, township supervisor Shannon Wolf, who also represented the area on the TIF plan committee, said he has heard from residents who share his enthusiasm about the possibility of the business park land finally being developed.
"I believe we've come up with a plan that would be a win-win situation for everyone involved," Wolf said. "And we would have something that would benefit our community in the future."
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