The Waxahachie City Council on Monday approved a $6 million tax abatement for a major industrial firm that will begin operations in the city next spring.

ABPC LLC is investing about $8 million to develop the 28-acre facility at 4300 Interstate Highway 35E to support a trucking operation, tanker cleaning operation and railroad transfer facility.

Construction of the project is expected to be complete in March 2008.

The facility will be operated by Coal City Cob Company, a subsidiary of ABPC and the company will be moving from its present location in Avalon.

The company employs a staff of 60 workers and plans on adding another 65-80 new jobs with a total payroll ranging between $27 million and $47 million once the expanded Waxahachie facility is in operation, Mike Cluman with ABPC told the council.

Under the terms of the abatement, only $6 million of the proposed improvements are eligible for the 60 percent break on property taxes for a seven-year period.

Current city property taxes on the location generate $14,135. With the $2 million in unabated improvements, when assessed at 40 percent of remaining improved value the city will generate a net gain of $4,375 over the term of the abatement period. At the conclusion of the seven-year period, at the current city tax rate, the property will generate $49,200 in municipal property taxes.

In addition to the stipulations outlined as part of the agreement, Mayor Pro-Tem Ron Wilkinson requested the company further be required to maintain operations as outlined under its special use permit.

“I understand that Midlothian had a problem with a similar facility where a chemical spill occurred and were told they had no jurisdiction since it involved interstate commerce,” Wilkinson said. “I pray that we won’t have a similar incident here and I believe our planning and zoning has done an outstanding job to ensure that it won’t, but still I would like us to have the authority to ensure the company is operating within the scope of its special use permit.”

Cluman told the council he had no problem with the added provision.

“We’re going to pay our taxes and we’re going to be good corporate citizens,” he said.

With the added provision included, Wilkinson made the motion to approve the tax abatement. The motion was seconded by councilor Joe Gallo and was approved unanimously.

Tax rate hearing

The council also held its second public hearing on the proposed 2007-2008 tax rate during Monday’s meeting.

The first public hearing on the tax rate was held Aug. 27.

The city is proposing a tax rate of .615 per $100 assessed value — the same tax rate that has been in place for the past three years.

Due to increased valuation in the city — mainly through new development — holding the tax rate steady will yield an increase in the levy or the total amount generated in property taxes.

Under state law, taxing bodies are required to hold two public hearings if the tax rate is above the effective tax rate or the rate that would generate the same amount of revenue as in the previous year.

The effective tax rate is .581791 per $100 assessed value, but below the rollback rate (the rate at which citizens have the right to petition for an election) of .642770 per $100 assessed value.

No one spoke at either public hearing.

The council also held a public hearing on the proposed budget for the coming year, as required by city charter.

The city is proposing a budget of $46.79 million for the coming year, an increase of 9.45 percent.

No one spoke during the public hearing.

The council also scheduled a vote to set the tax rate for its Sept. 17 meeting.

WWII re-enactment

A request for street closings in order to hold a World War II re-enactment on Nov. 10 was also approved by the council.

Tom Legler, speaking on behalf of the World War II re-enactors, requested the street closings and extra police to assist in crowd control for the third annual event held in conjunction with the Ellis County Veterans Appreciation Day celebration.

Legler said the event would be similar to the previous events — only bigger — in which the re-enactors would stage an urban World War II battle in downtown Waxahachie.

He added this is the only urban re-enactment, as most World War II events are staged in open fields in rural areas.

The event will include scores of German and Allied re-enactors, along with dozens of World War II military vehicles.

“This is unique in the fact that it provides a feel of an occupied city and it is done as a tribute to our veterans who defended our freedom,” Legler added.

Last year’s event was attended by about 2,000 people, according to crowd control estimates.

“I attended last year’s event with my kids and found it very educational,” Gallo pointed out. “I think it’s a great tribute and it helps bring people to our downtown corridor.”

In other business, the council:

Approved an ordinance annexing 12.939 acres of land owned by Paul G. Spining, general partner of Glen Arbor Estates. The voluntary annexation allows for the entire proposed 40-lot subdivision to be included in the city limits. The land is located east of Ovilla Road and south of Bob White (Patsy Lane) near South Grove Creek. Approved a resolution to deny a request from Atmos Energy Corporation for a rate increase. By denying the request, Atmos must now go before the Texas Railroad Commission to seek the increase — its fourth rate request in four years. Mayor Joe Jenkins noted the absence of councilor Buck Jordan, stating Buck’s wife Jane was in the hospital and requested prayers for her quick recovery. Introduced County Court at Law No. 2 Judge Gene Calvert Jr. as the honorary councilor for the month of September.

E-mail Neal at neal.white@waxahachiedailylight.com