Victoria business could lose tax incentives

Melissa Crowe By Melissa Crowe

May 20, 2014 at 12:20 a.m.

Victoria's first Caterpillar-related business is facing the loss of its seven-year tax break.

Keen Transport, which opened on a 30-acre lot at the intersection of Lone Tree and Burroughsville roads, has 60 days to meet the employment standards the company agreed to in 2012, said Victoria City Attorney Thomas Gwosdz.

Mayor Paul Polasek wished the company all the best.

"The contract is working the way it should," he said. "I wish them the best and that they will come into compliance, but this is how it's supposed to work."

Victoria Economic Development Corp. President Dale Fowler said unless the business plans an expansion, it would be ineligible for another try at a tax abatement.

"While they're disappointed, they understand," Fowler said.

Gwosdz, the city attorney, said if the business is not in compliance within 60 days, he will make a recommendation to the City Council to terminate the agreement, which could come in August.

If terminated, the business would be required to pay back any taxes it saved under the abatement. Gwosdz was not certain whether the business had experienced any benefits from the abatement on its 2013 taxes.

Keen estimated to have 15 permanent, full-time jobs created by June 2013. By June 2015, the company estimated it would hit its peak employment of 25 jobs.

Fowler said he did not know how many employees the company has but only that they are not meeting the targets of the tax abatement agreement.

The company did not give the impression they would meet the requirement in time, the city attorney said.

"I do think that's the direction we'll be going," Gwosdz said.

Keen Transport, based in Carlisle, Penn., is a preferred supplier to Caterpillar Inc.

During the past 40 years, the company has provided transportation and logistics services to Caterpillar from Aurora, Ill.; East Peoria, Ill.; Decatur, Ill.; Clayton, N.C.; Stanford, N.C.; Winston Salem, N.C.; La Grange, Ga.; and Little Rock, Ark.

On the company's application for an abatement, they estimated $132 million in sales a year and $8 million in local sales.

Polasek said the business is open.

"They're still here, and they're still doing business," he said.



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