Hattiesburg City Council OKs Exemptions to Businesses

October 5, 2016

Story Originally Posted by Hattiesburg American

Two weeks ago, several Hub City businesses, mostly in the Hattiesburg-Forrest County Industrial Park, received tax exemptions approved by the Forrest County Board of Supervisors.

On Tuesday, most of those same business received abatements in the city, as Hattiesburg City Council members unanimously approved tax exemptions totaling $1.3 million for 12 companies including Green Bay Converting, Bio Soil Enhancers and Sofidel America Corp.

“I think this is critically important, and I have to say it’s something that I have to think about every time because I look at the difference in the revenue that’s coming into the city,” said Ward 4 Councilwoman Mary Dryden, who recused herself from a vote regarding Mississippi Tank Co. “We could use more – we have a lot to cover with our resources.

“With that being said, the reason the tax exemptions are approved is because those businesses have invested huge sums of money to improve their business. They have expanded, and in most cases they’ve added employees, they’ve added to the payroll. That’s good for Hattiesburg, and we need that.”

Todd Jackson, business development director with the Area Development Partnership, said the companies employ at total 2,844 workers, and in 2015 represented an $85 million capital investment and a $95 million payroll.

“So these companies have invested $178 million in our local economy,” he said. “(The $1.3 million in exemptions) represents 0.7 percent of the total investment these companies have made in the last 12 months, which we consider a great return on investment.”

Although the city and the county can exempt their millage from the businesses’ tax rate, the companies still will be required to pay school millage.

According to documents from the ADP, Mar-Jac Poultry had one of the highest payrolls of the 12 companies in 2015, at approximately $17.02 million.

Companies with smaller payrolls included BIO Soil Enhancers at $1.8 million (24 employees in 2015); C.L. Dews & Sons Foundry and Machinery Co. at $4.2 million (113 employees in 2015); and Sofidel America Corp. with $364,352 (66 employees in 2015).

Payroll information for Kohler Co., which employed 766 in 2015, was not available.

Jackson said giving exemptions to existing companies proves to possible incoming organizations that Hattiesburg is a business-friendly environment.

“That always helps us in business recruitment, so kudos to Forrest County, the city of Hattiesburg and all our partners who help us maintain that competitive environment,” he said. “(Because of these companies), over 2,800 of our local citizens have good wages, good jobs and are able to provide for their families because of the investment these companies have made.

“And if we peel that onion back even more, it’s because of the business-friendly climate that we’ve established here in Hattiesburg.”

Dryden said she hopes small businesses, as well as the big corporations, choose to locate in Hattiesburg – especially in the U.S. 49 and downtown areas.

“We’ve lost a lot of small businesses in that part of Hattiesburg,” she said. “That’s three of our wards – that’s wards 2 and 4 and 5. So I’d like to see incentives for people to create small businesses because that’s good for Hattiesburg.

“And our citizens, they need the convenience of having small businesses in their neighborhoods nearby. Empty buildings bother me – we need to fill these empty buildings.”

At a glance 

Business exemptions

-SPG Holdings: $100,137.75 abatement. 148 employees, $6.29 million investment in 2015

-Zeon Chemicals: $3,530.74 abatement. 46 employees, $221,996 investment in 2015

-Mississippi Tank Co.: $34,458.95 abatement. 192 employees, $1.29 million investment in 2015

-Green Bay Converting: $55,958.57 abatement. 128 employees, $3.55 million investment in 2015

-Wis Pak of Hattiesburg: $18,294.54 abatement. 94 employees, $1.15 million investment in 2015

-Western Container Corp.: $37,000.69 abatement. 114 employees, $2.32 million investment in 2015

-C.L. Dews & Sons Foundry: $23,424.27 abatement. 113 employees, $1.47 million investment in 2015

-York International (Johnson Controls): $29,552.67 abatement. 199 employees, $1.85 million investment in 2015

-Mar-Jac Poultry: $187,657.38 abatement. 861 employees, $910,318 investment in 2015

-Sofidel America Corp.: $352,781.22 abatement. 66 employees, $22.18 million investment in 2015

-Bio Soil Enhancers: $1,976.94 abatement. 24 employees, $124,300.37 investment in 2015

-Kohler Co.: $62,089.03 abatement. 766 employees, $3.9 million investment in 2015