After learning promises were not being kept, the Wyoming City Council decided to revoke a former business’s tax abatements a month earlier than planned in an effort to capture about $200,000 in taxes.
At its last council meeting, the Wyoming City Council unanimously voted to revoke the three tax abatements granted to Grand Rapids Plastics.
The company, with a home address of 4220 Roger B. Chaffee, closed its doors April 15. According to city officials, Chemical Bank seized the company’s assets after Fiat Chrysler ended its contracts with Grand Rapids Plastics with the city not being notified of the closure but staff learning through other means.
At a May council meeting, representatives from Chemical Bank and the former owner, Art Bolt, requested the city delay revoking the abatements as, according to bank officials, they were working to find someone to take over the existing business. The council agreed to table the action until its Aug. 4 meeting.
Since that meeting, City Manager Curtis Holt said staff learned promises to the city were not being kept in that the equipment had been tagged for an auction and an auctioneer had been hired. The city staff is not aware of anyone interested in the business and that bank officials acknowledged that they were aware of the abatements and that the money was owed.
Chris Meyer, an attorney representing Chemical Bank, presented a letter to council at the July 5 meeting stating that it is the bank’s position that the sudden lost of the Fiat Chrysler contract did meet the “unforeseen circumstance” requirement and that the city should not revoke the abatements. Meyer said if the city went through in the revocation process, the money would not immediately comeback but it would be considered an unsecured debt as it is a penalty that the company took out the abatements.
However Sandra Hamilton, from the law firm Clark Hill and who has worked with the city treasurer’s office and the state treasurer’s office on tax collection issues, said the city would have a super lien against the property which means the city would be given higher priority than all other types of liens including any liens Chemical Bank currently holds.
Hamilton has stated that an unforeseen circumstance is usually associated with a natural disaster such as a fire or “act of God.” She said the state treasurer’s office has already filed jeopardy assessments agains the company for taxes. The city’s revocation would go to the State Tax Commission which has the authority to revoke a tax abatement certificate.
Mayor Jack Poill said he contends that a new business interested in the current site is going to want new abatements versus abatements that only have about six years left.
Grand Rapids Plastics had three abatements. One that was amended in 2007 for $1.2 million for personal property and another one that was for $1 million for personal property in 2008. Both of these were for 12 years. There also is a full abatement for $615,931 granted in 2011 for 10 years for personal property accusation. The total taxes owed to the city is about $212,000, $180,00 is the abatement taxes and around $33,000 is the personal property taxes for 2016.