From the Lafayette Journal & Courier:
The Lafayette City Council Monday night affirmed 16 companies that have received tax breaks are in compliance with the investment and employment commitments made at the time the tax abatements were approved.
Council approval was unanimous even though three companies, Rea Magnet Wire Co., Kirby Risk Corp. and McKinney Corp., currently fall short of the number of employees they pledged to hire.
Representatives from all three companies cited economic downturns that led to a decrease in orders, and described their different strategies to stabilize their businesses and avoid layoffs.
Doug Mansfield, Kirby Risk president of manufacturing, said the loss of a significant customer soon after the city approved property tax breaks in 2012 forced the company to reduce its workforce through attrition.
The number of full-time employees fell from 359 in 2012 to 304 currently. The company has more than 100 temporary workers and has exceeded its payroll commitment, he said.
"We have 38 percent turnover rate (in temporaries), and the bulk of that is due to attendance," Mansfield said. "As we get stability with the temporary workers, we bring them on full time."
Carole Gilbert of Rea Magnet Wire, and Murf McKinney of McKinney Corp. related similar stories, and emphasized continued investments in their facilities.
Steve Meyer, council president, said he appreciated the companies' investments in Lafayette, but reminded the representatives of their promises.
"When we look at these abatements, we want to see compliance," he said. "We expect to you to hire full-time employees. Temporary employees are not included."
Dennis Carson, economic development director, said companies can be found in compliance if they meet other criteria, such as market conditions and hourly wages.
"These jobs pay well above the $16 an hour wage we require for an abatement," Carson said.
Tax abatements are designed to entice businesses to invest in land, equipment or buildings in exchange for a 100 percent tax break on new investments in the first year, and gradually increasing to full payment over a period of three to 10 years depending on the request.