Greenwood officials dropping tax breaks for Monsanto project

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Agribusiness giant Monsanto Co. is considering whether to go ahead with a planned seed-processing and distribution facility after Greenwood's mayor dropped his support for providing property tax breaks toward the project.

The decision comes just weeks after Monsanto submitted plans to spend almost $29 million on the facility in a Greenwood industrial park.

Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers told the Daily Journal of Franklin that he decided to withdraw the tax break request after he and other city officials received numerous messages from residents opposed to the project.

Monsanto spokeswoman Christi Dixon told The Associated Press the company is exploring its options for leasing a warehouse in the area.

According to documents filed with the city, Monsanto was seeking to lease a new 140,000-square-foot building in Southtech Business Park where it would process, package and distribute corn, soybean and cotton seed for field testing.

The office was expected to employ six to 10 fulltime employees making annual salaries in the range of $60,000 to $90,000 per year.

Another 50 to 70 warehouse employees making an average of $14 would be needed at the facility, but that number was expected to fall to 20 in the third year of operations as the facility becomes more automated.

Carmel-based developer Becknell Industrial was chosen to develop an $8.7 million building on 11 acres at the northeast corner of Graham Road and Southtech Drive to house the Monsanto facility. Construction was expected to begin in August and be completed in early 2018.

Monstanto was seeking a 10-year, $1.6 million personal-property tax abatement on its investment, which involves $13 million in manufacturing equipment, $15 million in research and development equipment and $700,000 in information technology equipment.

The company would still pay more than $920,000 in personal-property taxes over the abatement period under the abatement plan.

Becknell was seeking a 10-year, $1.4 million tax abatement in real estate taxes on the building, saving it about half over the abatement period.

Greenwood's city council has already voted unanimously in favor of the tax break for the company on an initial vote, but hadn't yet voted for the incentives for the building.

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