Douglas County Commissioners unanimously voted to give Berry Plastics $431,300 in incentives so the company can build a new warehouse on the north side of the Farmers Turnpike.
The new warehouse will fulfill a growing storage need, and construction of the facility will create 350 construction jobs. Once assembled, the warehouse will provide 11 new jobs.
The commission’s vote came with the provision that the county will increase incentives by $170,000 if two grants, which the county hopes to receive, are denied. In case the grant money does not become a reality, commissioners placed a $600,000 ceiling on the amount of incentives.
The incentive money will go toward improvements to the Farmers Turnpike, a waterline and an internal access road.
Commissioners hope to attain a grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation for the sum of $318,000. That grant would pay for 75 percent of the improvements to the Farmers Turnpike.
The county also will seek a Community Development Block Grant from the Kansas Department of Commerce for approximately $350,000. The county plans to submit the grant application shortly.
Results for the KDOT grant are expected within the month. County commissioners also voted to provide Berry Plastics up to $21 million in Industrial Revenue Bonds, as well as a 90 percent tax abatement, which will last 10 years.
“I just see no downside on this particular issue,” said Commission Chairman Jim Flory on the tax abatement. “I think it’s telling that we have not heard from a single opponent on the idea of the abatement.”
The commission made its decision after a three-hour meeting, which included an in-depth cost-benefits analysis that was presented by Roger Zalneraitis, Economic Development Coordinator for the city of Lawrence.