Benteler plans to add 122 new jobs in Wyoming

December 22, 2008
| By Pete Daly |
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A request by Benteler Automotive for a tax abatement in return for creation of 122 new jobs in Wyoming goes to a public hearing by the city council on Jan. 5.

Benteler has advised Wyoming city officials it plans to invest more than $19 million in new machinery for production of six new vehicle exhaust systems at its plant on Hagen Drive. A Dec. 10 memo from Deputy City Manager Barbara VanDuren states that the exhaust system parts will be manufactured for Ford, Chrysler, Cummins and Nissan.

The Benteler request for a Public Act 198 property tax abatement on the new equipment also states that the company is committed to retaining 423 existing jobs.

VanDuren's memo said that estimated first-year tax savings for Benteler would be $138,212. The city of Wyoming’s percentage would be 14.6 percent. VanDuren noted that her staff is recommending Benteler be granted a 12-year Industrial Facilities (tax) Exemption Certificate.

Benteler has been active in Wyoming for 20 years, and its application for the P.A. 198 earned more than 185 points on a scoring system used by VanDuren to evaluate such applications. Wyoming City Council member William A. VerHulst said Benteler's score was "way over the 40 points we require for 12 years."

Wyoming Mayor Carol Sheets said Benteler "has been here a long time. They're a good company," adding that Benteler is a "pretty resilient" organization.

The Benteler parent company is based in Germany, with headquarters for its U.S. operations in Auburn Hills.

A local Benteler employee identified by a Wyoming official as its contact with the company did not return a phone call from the Business Journal.

When asked if she was confident Benteler would carry through on its plan to invest in new equipment and more jobs in Wyoming, despite the downturn in the auto industry, Sheets said "that would be the $64,000 question, wouldn't it? We hope so.

"We are optimistic they know what they are doing."

According to the Michigan Economic Development Corp., Public Act 198 of 1974 is the primary tool local units of government use as an incentive for companies to renovate and expand aging manufacturing plants or to build new plants in Michigan. Abatements cover both real and personal property and can run from one to 12 years, at the option of the local unit of government. The local municipality grants the abatement, which reduces local property taxes by roughly 50 percent on new plants. The investment on improvements is completely exempt from property taxes. Since it was passed in 1974, P.A. 198 has accounted for more than 16,500 projects, representing 1.3 million jobs retained, 500,000 jobs created, and $81 billion invested.

If Benteler does not live up to its commitment to maintain the existing 423 jobs and add 122 more, it would have to pay all the taxes that were abated.

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