Rebuilding of the Tiger-Sul Products manufacturing facility in Atmore got a boost on Monday (September 11) when Atmore City Council members approved a 10-year tax abatement for the fire-ravaged facility.
The 4-0 vote (District 5’s Chris Harrison abstained) will allow the company to avoid property taxes on new equipment and sales taxes on supplies purchased locally during the factory restoration effort.
“I think most everybody is familiar with Tiger-Sul Products and what they’ve experienced out there in a nearly 100-percent loss from fire damage,” said Will Ruzic, executive director of Coastal Gateway Regional Economic Development Alliance as he addressed the council. “We certainly want to work with them and do everything we can to get them back up to speed, get them up and running and get those people back to work out there.”
The Tiger-Sul facility has been idle since a July 29 predawn fire destroyed most of its equipment and its physical plant.
Ruzic said state economic development officials were more than willing to help speed up the rebuilding project.
“We’ve been working with the state on how we can help them make this process more efficient,” he said. “The state is actually going to classify this as a new project because of the severity of the loss. They had the idea of classifying this as a new project, which allows us to capture some statutory incentives to help with the process.”
The regional economic development official said the company would spend in the neighborhood of $4 million to get the plant back up and running.
“We’re looking at about $3.6 million that is going to be invested in rebuilding that building, and they’re going to have to get new equipment out there,” he explained. “We’d like to ask the city for the statutory abatement of 10 years on just the property tax on the equipment, then the sales and use tax on anything that’s spent here locally in the rebuild for the 10-year time frame, just like we would ask for any new project or expansion. That’s where we are.”
In other action during Monday’s meeting:
Council members approved requests from Michael Wilson, who was not present at the meeting, that he be allowed to hold a cooking competition and a trick-or-treat event at Houston Avery Park.
“Michael wants to have a rib-cooking competition, similar to the barbecue cook-off they had out there,” said Mayor Jim Staff. “They donated the proceeds from that to the Escambia County High School football team and band, and this one will be for the same thing. The trick-or-treat thing will be similar to a trunk-or-treat. It will be on Halloween, and they will be giving out candy and that sort of thing.”
No date was announced for the rib cook-off.
Charles Jackson, who owns Serenity Gardens cemetery near Atmore Municipal Airport, addressed the council for five minutes, repeating his argument that the Federal Aviation Administration and the city had effectively and seriously disrupted his business with rulings that have been handed down over the past decade.
When Jackson had used up his allotted time, the meeting was adjourned.