New Albany News

New Albany City Council

Expansion earns Axium another tax perk


Axium Plastics plans to expand in New Albany earlier than expected, and as a result, New Albany City Council added to the company's incentives Dec. 11.

"We are not going after business -- business has been coming after us," said Ven Bhindwallam, company controller.

Axium already has constructed a 110,000-square-foot facility in the Personal Care and Beauty Campus, north of state Route 161 and east of Beech Road on the Smith's Mill Road loop.

Bhindwallam said company officials were surprised to run out of space and have been leasing space in a nearby speculative building built by the Pizzuti Cos.

He said the company is relocating some of its production from Toronto and Atlanta and hopes to increase the number of employees on site.

The initial $16.2 million project was expected to create 165 jobs. There are 131 people working in the building, according to City Council's legislative report.

The company already is receiving a 15-year, 100-percent tax abatement from the city and a seven-year, 55-percent Job Creation Tax Credit valued at $449,000 from the state.

City Council on Dec. 11 agreed to provide Axium with another 15-year, 100-percent property tax abatement on a 90,000-square-foot facility south of the existing building. The company's investment is estimated at $8.9 million.

Jennifer Chrysler, the city's community development director, said the project is expected to add 40 new jobs with an annual payroll of $1.2 million.

Axium is based in Mississauga, Ontario. It manufactures plastic containers ranging in size from 0.5 ounces to 40 ounces for the food, personal-care, health-care and automotive industries.

The city has a revenue-sharing agreement in place with the Johnstown-Monroe Local School District to share 35 percent in income-tax revenue from the project. Both phases are expected to provide the school district with $517,500 over the 15-year abatement.

In other business Dec. 11, City Council:

* Voted to renew City Manager Joseph Stefanov's contract for 2013.

Stefanov will earn $138,226 next year. He earned $131,200 in 2012.

Stefanov has a vehicle allowance of $7,300 and will receive a performance bonus of $5,000. His insurance, the same as that paid for other city employees, costs the city $23,132 annually. The benefits package was not increased.

* Heard on first reading a zoning change for 108 acres north and south of Smith's Mill Road west of Beech Road as requested by the New Albany Co. The land is zoned as an infill planned-unit development and limited general employment. It will be changed to a comprehensive planned-unit development, which requires more city review.

Tom Rubey, development director for the New Albany Co., said some retail uses are planned on the 108 acres and city staff members would like the planning commission to review those projects as they come in.