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Commission grants abatement

At its first meeting of December, the Chambers County Commission approved a tax abatement for Knauf Insulation.

Knauf asked the commission for an abatement for sales and use tax, property and ad valorem tax. The company is currently trying to invest $5.3 million in new equipment.

“This will allow them to diversify their products and get into the residential area,” County Attorney Skip McCoy said.

For the 10 years, the commission would give up $185,5000 in sales and use tax and $17,639.50 in property taxes annually in the abatement. It would total a little more than $1.8 million in that 10-year period.

The new press and laminating machine will allow Knauf to insulate and die cut for ovens. The new machines will provide 12 new jobs at the start, with a salary of $19.43 per hour.

“That is significantly higher than our other wages in the community,” Director of Recruitment at the Chambers County Development Authority Kimberly Carter said. “Once the line is up and running, they will add two additional shifts, to make it a three-shift operation just like the rest of their lines. It will actually be 41 jobs total, but 12 initial jobs.”

Knauf currently employs 222 full-time employees and about 12 temporary employees.

In the work session, District 1 Representative Charlie Williams asked Carter and McCoy if they had any reservations about the abatement. McCoy informed Williams and the rest of the commissioner that Knauf has the highest percentage of Chambers County workers of the local companies.

“We are very proud that they have continued to operate here in Chambers County,” McCoy said. “In comparison to some of our other entities, I would put them in the top echelon.”

Carter also informed the commission that the company has been working with the community and will soon be holding a food drive for the Christian Service Center and the Interfaith Food Closet.

In other action, the commission is hoping to auction off six surplus vehicles with the sheriff’s office. Four of the cars are Ford Crown Victorias, while two are 2013 Dodge Chargers.

“What we would like to do with the funds is purchase needed equipment within the department,” CCSO Captain Richard Carter said.

County Engineer Josh Harvill announced to the commission that he is currently accepting bids for the closed bridge located on County Rd 267, which is about a mile and a half south of Fredonia. The final day to bid will be Dec. 16.

The contractor will be approved at the next commission meeting and will have 90 working days to complete the project.

County Administrator Regina Chambers informed the council that the county has received more than $110,000 from the CARES Act, $22,000 of which was from election expenses. Chambers has put in a request for $43,000 more and is awaiting a response.