Grand Rapids revokes four manufacturers' tax breaks

November 30, 2009
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Grand Rapids city commissioners revoked six industrial tax abatements last week that previously had been awarded to four manufacturers — three of whom have closed their doors — and asked the State Tax Commission to take the same action.

The exemptions were granted from 1998 through 2006.

Commissioners also removed one manufacturer’s tool-and-die Recovery Zone status last week; Metric Die and Engineering is reportedly facing bankruptcy.

The six industrial tax breaks, which were given for real and personal property, totaled more than $11 million. One each was awarded to Matador Tool and Die, Mitco Inc. and Rapid Die and Engineering Inc., while three went to Obie Manufacturing. Of the amount exempted, $7.56 million was for real property and $3.48 million for personal property.

City Economic Development Director Kara Wood said inspections revealed that Obie Manufacturing, Matador Tool and Die, and Rapid Die and Engineering were no longer in business. Wood said the equipment that Mitco was to have purchased in return for the exemption wasn’t on the company’s property.

“Some have benefited from the tax breaks. Those values are being calculated by City Treasurer Al Mooney,” she said.

Mooney is expected to seek tax reimbursements from some of the awards.

Removing Metric Die and Engineering from the tool-and-die Recovery Zone means the Michigan Strategic Fund will revoke the company’s tax breaks beginning in 2010.

Metric operated two locations in the city, and Wood said recent inspections showed no activity at either plant. Wood said the company’s equipment has been auctioned and removed from the properties, and the firm is going through the bankruptcy process.

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