by Danny Wade
Humboldt aldermen passed a resolution that is a piece of the puzzle to assist a Humboldt industry to expand. Bongard’s Creameries in Humboldt plans to expand their building and add dozens of new jobs.
Kingsley Brock, director of Economic Development for Gibson County, spoke to the Humboldt Mayor and Board of Alderman about the project during their April 24 meeting.
Brock said Bongard’s is seeking financing through a new pilot program, new market tax credit, to the tune of $30 million.
The Humboldt plant will expand with 57,000 square feet of cooler space and another 10,000 square feet for dry storage. An automated chill tunnel on a pad outside the building, approximately 8,000 square foot, is part of the project.
Brock said Bongard’s currently has 45 employees and through the new market tax credit could double the size of its workforce. He added that the positions created would be good-paying jobs that average around $19 per hour.
Also as part of the new market tax credit, Bongard’s will use $175,000 in training for the new jobs.
Currently, Bongard’s pay around $140,000 per year in real and personal property taxes for the existing facility. The city will continue to reap those taxes but the expansion will not pay taxes to the city for 10 years.
Brock explained this as a win-win with Bongard’s continuing to pay existing property taxes while being tax-free on the expansion for 10 years, while creating jobs and pumping $175,000 into the community for training. All this comes at no cost to the city of Humboldt.
Alderman Leon McNeal agreed and motioned to approve the resolution. Alderman Don Graves seconded and the vote passed unanimously.
Brock said his next step is to make a similar presentation to the Gibson County Commission at their next meeting.
In other city business:
•The board voted to turn the 2015 real property taxes and the 2016 personal property taxes over to the court for collection.
•The police report and fire report for March were approved unanimously by the board.
According to the police report, Humboldt police responded to 46 alarms, assisted with seven funerals and issued 17 warning tickets. HPD received 1,129 complaints in March.
Among arrests made were 19 aggravated assaults, 15 domestic assaults, 18 driving on revoked/suspended licenses, 11 DUIs, 13 incidents, 64 speeding, 25 theft of property, 13 thefts of merchandise, 13 vandalism and two shots fired. In all, 114 arrests were made in March.
Humboldt firemen also had a busy month in March. The reports showed HFD has 26 calls for assistance including three wrecks, two house fires, three smoke scares, seven fire alarms, trash fire, trench rescue, oven fire and stove fire. They were on stand by for two medical helicopter evacuations,
The board also accepted the resignation of policeman Joseph Evans, who had been on the force for six years.