By MARY RAINWATER
The Palestine City Council took further steps in bringing Sanderson Farms Inc. to Anderson County Monday, approving a tax abatement contract with the company and an interlocal agreement with Anderson County.
The agreement, presented to the council by Palestine Economic Development Corp. Director Wendy Ellis, allows for an 8-year tax abatement for the value of improvements to be placed on the property inside the city limits for the operation of a hatchery facility.
“The proposed value of the facility to be built will not be less than $16 million and approximately 90 jobs are proposed,” Ellis said. “They have requested a tax abatement on a portion of the value of the property to help them establish the new complex.”
In the proposed agreement, in exchange for their investment and jobs created, Sanderson Farms Inc. would receive a 90 percent abatement on the value of the improvements over the next six years (after construction completed, expected in 2015); 85 percent in year seven; and 80 percent in year eight.
In order to approve the abatement, council members first had to adopt an ordinance to establish a reinvestment zone in the portion of Willow Creek Business Park that will be used by Sanderson Farms Inc. for the hatchery.
The council did so on Monday, holding a public hearing on the matter and then unanimously approving the measure during the action portion of the meeting.
Also during the meeting, the council approved an Interlocal Agreement between the City and Anderson County to extend roads and utilities to the Sanderson Farms processing facility. County commissioners approved the agreement on Monday morning, Ellis reported.
In other business, the council:
• RECOGNIZED the library staff and Palestine Police Department Sgt. James Muniz and Det. David Kassaw.
• READ a proclamation declaring May as National Preservation Month.
• HEARD City Manager’s Reports, which included City Attorney Fees, Online Auction report and Department Reports from Police, Utilities, Developmental Services and Municipal Court.
• APPROVED the appointment of Alan Herrington to the Palestine Economic Development Corp.
• APPROVED the consent agenda, which included minutes of the work session and regular meeting of April 8 and an ordinance for the abandonment of public alley located on the west end of Block 19, between Lots 8 and 9 of the Green’s North Hill Addition being approximately 50 feet in length and 12 feet in width.
• APPROVED the YMCA summer swim schedule.
• APPROVED an expenditure of $12,781.19 to purchase a Kubota RTV900 utility vehicle.
• APPROVED an ordinance allowing a specific use permit to allow a mobile home at 1502 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., which is generally located at the southwest corner of the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and Washington St. Applicant Patricia Blackshire.
• ADOPTED an ordinance approving amendments to Appendix A, Zoning, Article 16 General Provision, Section 16.9 Nonconformities.
• APPROVED an ordinance for a budget amendment for Fiscal Year 2012-13.
• HEARD updates on the Texas State Railroad and the South End Preservation Project.
Mary Rainwater may be reached via e-mail at email@example.com