Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc., Goshen, Ind., is seeking a “phase-in” tax abatement on a recently completed expansion project that will add over 200 jobs, according to a report in the Elkhart Truth.
Dutchmen first requested an abatement in early September for construction of a 55,000-square-foot facility costing $1.7 million, but a series of delays kept it off the Goshen City Council agenda until Tuesday (Jan. 25).
“We’re continuing to grow and things like this are going to become more and more important,” said Jeff Newport, vice president of operations for Dutchmen. “We want to grow in Elkhart County but we’re also looking in surrounding counties (that offer tax abatements).”
According to paperwork filed with the city, the new plant will create 212 jobs, most paying an average of $40,500 a year. The Truth reported that the average wage in Elkhart County is $30,200 while the county’s average production wage is $40,000.
Goshen Mayor Allan Kauffman said this isn’t his ideal use of tax abatements, saying he preferred to attract new types of higher paying positions instead of more RV manufacturing jobs. But he said the higher wages and longevity of Dutchmen are pluses.
“You also want to help your local industry grow,” he said. “If this was a new RV company that wanted to come into town and create a couple hundred jobs, I wouldn’t be nearly as supportive.”
If approved, it would be the third abatement the city has granted since offering the incentives a year ago.
Dutchmen’s original application had incomplete information, according to the city’s legal department.
When Dutchmen’s modified application was returned at the beginning of October, it hit what Kauffman calls a “bottleneck” in the lightly staffed city legal department. Final paperwork was finished this week for council consideration.