Jeff Davis School Board supports tax breaks for Metalplate Galvanizing, repeals it for Lacassine rum manufacturer

JENNINGS — The Jeff Davis Parish School Board on Thursday backed efforts by a galvanizing plant to secure tax breaks for an expansion project near Jennings, while repealing another exemption for a rum manufacturer in Lacassine due to non-compliance.

The board unanimously voted to support Metalplate Galvanizing’s application under the state’s Industrial Tax Exemption Program (ITEP) on a $885,670 plant expansion. The program provides tax incentives for manufacturers who commit to jobs, payroll and increasing tax revenues.

“The main thing the board liked is that they were going to have 28 new jobs with a payroll of $2 million, with an average of $72,000 per job,” Credeur said. “And the jobs they are bringing in will be a variety of good paying jobs which will have a positive economic impact on our area.”

The total annual exemption requested by Metalplate Galvanizing, from all applicable taxing jurisdictions including the School Board’s share, is $41,541, according to the Jeff Davis Parish Assessor.

Plant Manager Jeff Mundy said the company is seeking a 10-year, $10,700 annual tax break to offset the cost of adding a finishing area for solar panel components which will be distributed throughout the United States. Demand for the products is expected to grow over the next 10 years, he said.

The company also provides hot-dip galvanized materials for industrial operations and expansion projects.

Metalplate Galvanizing opened its 50,000-square-foot facility on an 80-acre site off of Farm Supply Road and U.S. 90, just west of Jennings, in April 2016.

The board also voted to ask the state Board of Commerce and Industry to repeal the 2020 ITEP exemption for Louisiana Spirits, which produces Bayou Rum, at its facility in Lacassine. The board further asked that the company pay taxes that were previously exemption due to non-compliance of their original exemption application which required three jobs and a payroll of $90,000.

“They applied to the state for a tax break promising three jobs worth $30,000 each, but they failed to comply with the agreement,” Credeur said.

The tax break was used to help offset the cost of a $4.5 million expansion of its manufacturing process, which opened in 2013 on the South I-10 Frontage Road in Lacassine.

Credeur said the purpose of the tax exemption is to give tax breaks to those businesses that can bring more taxes and high paying jobs to help boost the economy. The board did not feel Louisiana Spirits’ request fit the requirement of providing numerous jobs and a high pay scale, he said.

Louisiana Spirits can appeal the board’s decision.

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