City of Mitchell will miss out on the needed revenue from Heidelberg Cement Plant Expansion
MITCHELL - OCTOBER 22, 2023 - While Lawrence County itself celebrates the $807 Million expansion of the Heidelberg Cement Plant Expansion, the City of Mitchell will miss out on the real economic opportunities the plant could have brought to the cash strapped city.
Photo: The Heidelberg Cement Plant in Mitchell, Indiana
The budget for the City of Mitchell is $4.5 million which the public hearing on the budget was held on Friday at 6:00 pm at the city hall.
Photo: The Budget for the City of Mitchell is $4.5 million in 2024
The City of Mitchell will miss out on approximate $29 million in Tax Increment Financing alone that would have allowed for needed street repairs, fire and police protection, and revenue to pay a decent wage to city employees.
The City of Mitchell discontinued its TIF district.
The Lawrence County Redevelopment Commission was formed to capture the tax revenues to use towards projects around the Lehigh TIF district in 2022.
Photo: The Lawrence County Redevelopment Commission used funds to resurface Merdian Road in Mitchell
The Lawrence County Redevelopment Commission members are non-elected officials will determine where the tax revenues will go on various projects in the Mitchell area.
The Lawrence County RDC members include Rex Knight, Tim Deckard, Wally Branham, Jeff Qulye, and Scott Smith. The only elected members of the group is Wally Branham, who serves as Lawrence County Commissioner.
Photo: A CSX train moves cars out of the Heidelberg recently with rail traffic expected to increase over the couple of years in Mitchell
The net assessed value of the plant is $807,081,318 by 2025.
The City of Mitchell missed the opportunity to plan ahead and seek the needed tax base for its residents. This would have built a better economic opportunities and use the revenues to fund business growth in the city with a population of 4,000.
Video: A CSX switches cars out of Mitchell Indiana Cement Plant
According to Tracy Crowther the plant employed a total of 123 employees when he took over as plant manager. The plant is now at 173 with an expected 4 to 5 employees to be hired in additionally in the near future. The goal is to maintain approximately 175 employees.
Throughout the project more than 1,000 construction workers converged in the Lawrence County area, which was a huge shot in the arm according to Lawrence County president Jeff Lytton.
Photo: The construction project was a large injection of cash to the local economy in Lawrence County over the last couple of years
" Any of you who, frequented the local restaurants probably had to wait in line, as the construction workers frequented the local establishments," said Crowther.
Many of the Lawrence County council members commented on how important the company has been to the Lawrence County area and thanking them for a job well done.
Photo: By the time the plant is fully operational approximately one million tons of cement will be shipped out by rail. This will mean the facility will ship out about 10,000 rail cars a year, in the summer time the plant will ship about 1,000 rail cars a month
Lawrence County government will be the benefactor of the expansion while Mitchell City government will be figuring out how to pay bills.
Photo: A shell building will be constructed in Mitchell's Industrial Park. Slow growth in the l100 acre Industrial Park have been a trickle over the last 13 years
The Mitchell Industrial Park itself has been slow moving after its inception. The Lawrence County RDC was given some property by the City of Mitchell to construct a shell building with the project not to exceed $8 million.
The economic development of the Industrial Park has been slow going since its inception and it is the hope of Radius of Indiana, Lawrence County Economic Group that the shell building can bring in more business to the 100 acre Industrial Park.
A new fire station, Foam Craft, new highway, water tower, and a $3.8 million two dimensional site master plan was created for the Mitchell Industrial Park.
A lot of taxpayer money has been invested money in the construction of Doc Hamilton, railroad overpass, water wells, water, and sewer improvements to bring more business to the city with limited success.
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