City commissioners on Tuesday gave a passing grade to the seven companies in the city that received property tax abatements in 2008.
“Even with the economy being down, I think we continue to see pretty good success from companies that have received abatements,” Mayor Rob Chestnut said. “We’ve seen some recent layoffs, but it is not quite as bad as some other parts of the country.”
Both the City Commission and the city’s Public Incentives Review Committee approved on Tuesday the city’s annual property tax abatement report. The report showed that just two of the seven companies suffered losses of full-time jobs in 2008. The other five companies all held steady or increased employment.
According to the report, full-time jobs at Allen Press dropped from 347 to 327 during the year. That is still up from the 314 jobs the company had when it was issued a property tax abatement in 1999. Chestnut is the chief financial officer for Allen Press, and abstained from meeting discussions about the company’s figures.
Berry Plastics saw full-time employment levels drop from 486 in 2007 to 377 in 2008. The company did increase its number of part-time employees by 44 during the year. Berry’s full-time employee total is still above the 350 employees it had when it was granted an abatement in 1998.
Here’s a look at the other companies that received an abatement:
• Amarr Garage Doors saw employment levels in 2008 increase from 398 to 469. But since the beginning of the year, Amarr has announced a series of layoffs that have taken employee levels below 400, city economic development leaders estimated. Amarr had 340 employees when it received the abatement in 1998.
• DST Systems grew full-time employee levels from 133 to 161. Part-time employee levels dropped from 108 to 60. The company is 14 employees below the number of full-time employees it projected to have when it received the abatement in 2000.
• Full-time employee totals at Prosoco grew from 66 to 69. Part-time employees dropped from 3 to none in 2008.
• Reuter Organ had full-time employee totals grow to 34, up from 33 a year earlier. Part-time numbers also increased by two employees. The company, however, continues to lag behind the projections it made when it received a tax abatement in 2000. The company had projected to have 56 full-time employees by this time.
• Employment at Sauer-Danfoss went from 150 employees in 2007 to 151 employees in 2008. In January, however, Sauer-Danfoss announced job cuts of up to 20 people.