CARTHAGE, Mo. —
The Jasper County Commission on Tuesday approved more than $6 million in equipment purchases for the new Heartland Pet Food Manufacturing plant under construction in Joplin.
Funding for the purchase comes from $55 million in bonds approved earlier by the commission, as part of an incentive package to attract the plant to the area.
The county will buy and own the production equipment for the plant for five years, allowing the company to lease it from the county and thereby avoid paying taxes on it.
The commissioners approved equipment requisitions totaling more than $6.4 million. The action represents the second round of equipment purchases and brings to more than $16.6 million the amount of equipment purchased thus far under the bond program. As part of the deal, the company will pay an average wage equal to or greater than the current average county wage.
Another factor in the company’s decision to come to the area is a promise by the Missouri Department of Transportation to construct a new interchange on Interstate 44 to serve the Crossroads Center Business and Distribution Park and the 85 trucks expected to serve the plant daily.
The state in September held a public hearing on the proposed interchange. Construction is scheduled for 2015.
The pet food plant is expected to be in full operation in 2015, employing 150 workers and producing 30 million pounds of pet food a month.
The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Blue Buffalo Co.
The plant is under construction at 8101 E. 32nd St. The 425,000-square-foot plant was designed by NEI Industrial Services, which also is located in the business park.
THE JASPER COUNTY COMMISSION on Tuesday approved the appointment of Brooke Schoeberl to the Jasper County Domestic Violence Board, and reappointed Stacy Musche and Lynn Shelly to the panel.