A large manufacturer with worldwide operations is considering improvements to its Joplin plant that would involve seeking up to $80 million in tax incentives from the city of Joplin.
The company was not named Monday night, but the proposal was referred to as “Project Titan” at a Joplin City Council meeting.
The unnamed company is asking for a break of personal property taxes on the purchase of $70 million to $80 million in equipment for two proposed projects, according to City Attorney Peter Edwards. He said the period of time the tax break would extend is to be negotiated.
A hired consultant, Brian Corde of Atlas Insight in Freehold, New Jersey, represented the company to give a synopsis of the proposal to the council.
The company wants to conduct new product development to stay on pace with consumer demands, increasing efficiency and providing capacity so that the company can take on new customers, Corde told the council.
Two projects are being considered. Company officials may decide to do one, both or none, Corde said.
One of the options would require capital of $40 million to $50 million for new technology that would allow production to almost double. If approved, production would increase to 1 billion pounds of product a year, “which obviously would cement its place as one of the most important facilities in the company’s portfolio,” Corde said. It also would allow the company to serve new customers.
That would require more than 10,000 hours of staff training. Startup on the project would be between August and October 2022.
The second proposal is smaller, a $10 million to $20 million investment. That capital would be used to leverage new technologies for capacity improvements to current production lines including packaging automation.
“These production increases the facility feels is necessary in order to meet customer demand” and to take on additional production of new products. Those new products would be developed at the Joplin plant, Corde said.
If the second proposal is approved, it would start between April and October 2022.
Councilman Anthony Monteleone thanked Corde for the information. He asked if there would be a gain or loss of jobs as a result of the new technologies being considered.
Corde said no reduction in jobs is planned. There is a possibility of an increase, he said.
Mayor Ryan Stanley asked if council wanted to consider tax incentives proposal regarding the projects. Mayor Pro Tem Keenan Cortez made a motion to have city staff present proposals on the request, which the council approved 9-0.
Toby Teeter, president of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce, said after the request was presented that the advantage to Joplin in providing the tax incentives is to retain the company and its jobs over the long term.
“The more competitive the Joplin facility is, the more likely they’ll keep the Joplin facility. It makes it a stronger asset within the company’s portfolio. This company has facilities across the world, and the opportunity for them to reinvest and incentivize it keeps Joplin competitive,” Teeter said.
City Manager Nick Edwards told the Globe it could take several weeks to get the proposed contracts drawn up for council consideration.