Agrinomix gets 10-year tax cut to expand operations

A 75 percent property tax break has been offered to keep Agrinomix in Oberlin.

City council unanimously extended a 10-year abatement offer Monday to the Creekside Drive company, which according to president Robert Lando has been courted by other cities with relocation plans and incentives.

Agrinomix plans to spend $725,000 to build a 15,000-square-foot expansion on the south side of its site for additional manufacturing space, which is expected to increase its workforce by at least five employees in the next three years.

In return, Oberlin officials are willing to collect just 25 percent of the city’s property tax share on the new portion.

“We’re not asking for a tax reduction for any of the taxes we presently pay,” said Lando. The abatement will help the company complete its project.

Finance director Salvatore Talarico said the bid will increase collections by nearly $4,000 spread among the city, county, Oberlin Schools, Oberlin Public Library, Lorain County Ambulance District, JVS, and health district.

In 2025, collections will balloon to the full $16,000 spread among those entities.

The amount sacrificed through abatement will almost immediately be covered by increased income tax collections from two $80,000 per year positions created at Agrinomix, Talarico said.

“Even with the tax exemption it’s a significant benefit to the city because our share of the property taxes is so low,” he said.

The hiring of five new employees within the next three years will generate Oberlin roughly $5,000 annually in income taxes.

Lando said other cities have asked him to move his company. The company needs to expand because demand has increased.

“There is no question that our strong preference is to stay in Oberlin,” he said. “We’re a very happy citizen of Oberlin. We like so many of the attributes that Oberlin has to offer.”

In 2007, Agrinomix added 22,000 square feet to its manufacturing space.

“Launches of new products have come quite quickly,” Lando said. “We have been investing tremendously into the engineering side of the business.”

The abatement has to be approved by Lorain County commissioners. It is expected to be on the agenda at 9:30 a.m. next Wednesday.

Approval must also be given by the Ohio Development Services Agency.

The expansion is expected to be completed before Fall 2016.

Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.