Agrinomix to get another tax cut

Another 75 percent property tax break has been approved to further expand Agrinomix in Oberlin, the third such deal that’s been extended to the horticulture products company.

City council extended a 10-year abatement offer Monday after the company announced plans to beef up its operations.

Agrinomix plans to spend between $630,000 and $820,000 to build a 19,250-square-foot expansion on the north end of its facility for additional manufacturing space.

This isn’t the first time the Creekside Drive company sought tax relief from the city. In 2016, president Robert Lando went before council for tax abatement on two property extensions — a 15,000-square-foot expansion on the south side for additional manufacturing space and another 7,500-square-foot office expansion on the east side.

The site plan will allow for one more 15,000-square-foot addition to the south.

The new addition is expected to increase the Agrinomix workforce by at least three full-time employees in the next two years, said Lando. In return, Oberlin officials are willing to collect just 25 percent of the city’s property tax share on the new portion.

Prior to 2015, the company had 25 employees. In the first enterprise agreement, Lando agreed to add five staff members by 2018. In the second, the contract was amended to add three more employees by the end of 2019.

Growth has moved more rapidly than expected and the company hired 16 new employees, totaling a staff of 41.

The average wage is around $57,000. Lando said hiring additional staff will increase payroll by $150,000 per year.

The company needs to expand because demand has increased. New product development space for sustainable growing processors, seeding machinery, and robotic planters are required to “continue diversification within horticulture,” he said.

Councilwoman Sharon Pearson supported the tax abatement, but had a concern with passing it with emergency status.

Lando said timing is key so construction can be finished before winter.

The abatement was also on the Lorain County commissioners’ Aug. 23 agenda, but approval was not given.

County administrator James Cordes is in favor of the tax break, but requested that the agreement reference Lorain County instead of Oberlin, since commissioners have final say over property tax deals.

Upon editing, the request must go back to council for re-approval. Approval must also be given by the Ohio Development Services Agency.

Laurie Hamame can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @HamameNews on Twitter.

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A 15,000-square-foot expansion was completed at Agrinomix in 2016 with the addition of a storm water retention pond. The company is growing again. 15,000-square-foot expansion was completed at Agrinomix in 2016 with the addition of a storm water retention pond. The company is growing again.

Laurie Hamame | Oberlin News-Tribune

By Laurie Hamame