The Cowley County Commission met Tuesday morning and held a hearing to discuss and take action on Industrial Revenue Bonds for Caregiver Bed Company/22765 Smyer Street LLC at Strother Field and to set a hearing date for tax exemption for Zeeco, Inc.

Caregiver Bed Company purchased the building at 22765 Smyer St. and created an LLC of that building, which in turn leased it back to Caregiver Bed Company.

Operations at the building began in 2018. Because of operational and application process delays, the company’s request for the IRB was delayed. Now they are seeking a property tax abatement for which they are nine years eligible. The abatement would run 2020-28.

Kerri Falletti, representing Economic Development, made the presentation. Hal McCoy, representing Caregiver Bed Company; Sarah Steele representing Gilmore and Bell, the county’s bond counselors; and state Rep. Bill Rhiley were also on hand for the discussion.

A cost benefit analysis supplied by the Kansas Department of Commerce offers three choices:

• 100 percent in year 1, with 10-percent annual reduction to 20 percent in year 9. 

• 100 percent in years 1 to 4, with 10-percent annual reduction to 50 percent in year 9. 

• 100 percent for nine years.

McCoy argued for the second option, though the commissioners were more in favor of the first option, county administrator Lucas Goff said Tuesday afternoon.

The commission approved giving the Caregiver Bed Company an exemption through a motion for resolution of intent, Goff said, and they will choose the amount of the exemption at the Dec. 17 meeting.

Commissioner Alan Groom expressed his concern that the commission gives breaks to large companies, but not to smaller ones. Rhiley was also concerned about the treatment of big businesses at the expense of the smaller ones.

One idea that came out of the discussion was putting a fire station at Strother Field. A fire station there would bring down insurance costs for businesses there, Goff said. The commission discussed bringing the idea to the Strother Field Commission because representatives of Winfield and Arkansas City sit on that board and have the major fire departments in the area.

 

Zeeco, Inc.

The commission approved setting a hearing date for Zeeco, Inc./Winfield Industrial Properties, LLC on their property tax exemption request. The hearing will precede the Dec. 17 meeting.

Zeeco, Inc./Winfield Industrial Properties, LLC purchased the building at 22695 D St., in Strother Field. The building had been vacant for about 12 years; operations began June 2018 after multiple years of renovation. Zeeco is requesting a property tax exemption (an Economic Development Exemption) on the property per County Resolution 90-1 for the nine years eligible. The exemption would be for years 2020-28.

The county application has been received and documentation provided to make the request to set a public hearing and approval for the exemption application.

A cost benefit supplied by the Kansas Department of Commerce per application requirements lists three scenarios — the same as those for the bed company:

• 100 percent in year 1, with 10-percent annual reduction to 20 percent in year 9.

• 100 percent in years 1 to 4, with 10-percent annual reduction to 50 percent in year 9.

• 100 percent for nine years.

The commissioners will choose the exemption during the hearing.

Goff said the request from Zeeco probably would have already been heard and decided upon, but they had problems getting all the necessary information together to make an application.

Having two major requests for exemptions isn’t usual at this time of the year, Goff said, but because of hold-ups for both companies, the requests came in late. And in order for the companies to gain the tax benefits for this year, the decisions have to be made by Dec. 31.

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