Boone County Commission approves tax abatements for developing companies

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COLUMBIA - The Boone County Commission voted Thursday to approve tax breaks for two companies looking to expand their businesses in Boone County.

Dana Axle Light Products, which manufactures vehicle parts, and American Outdoor Brands, also known as Smith and Wesson Corporation, a hunting and outdoors company, will save thousands of dollars on taxes each year. 

Dana Light Axle company spokesperson Jeff Cole said in a statement the company is looking forward to putting more into its Columbia operations.

"We are excited that this investment will lead to an additional 135 well-paying jobs.  We appreciate the support we have received from all levels of government – the state, county, and city – which has made this investment possible," Cole said.

Dana Light Axle will receive a $500,000 abatement while American Outdoor Brands' will amount to $370,000. Each will run over the next five to ten years if they follow strict guidelines.

"We have a contract agreement with them that requires that they employ a certain number of people in this community but that they pay an average wage that typically exceeds the median household income in this community," said District I Commissioner Fred Parry.

Dana Light Axle is required to employ 200 new people by Jan. 1, 2021 in order to receive a 50 percent abatement, which increases if the that number is not met.

American Outdoor Brands must create 46 new positions by Oct. 31, 2019 in order to receive a 50 percent abatement that decreases if that number is not met. American Outdoor Brands is also required to increase the number of jobs it creates to 66 in 2020 and 96 in 2021.

"It allows us to recruit, attract and retain large employers, people who are going to make a significant investment in our local work force," Parry said. 

He said the commission has had a significant amount of time to consider whether to grant the abatements. 

"For Dana Light Axle, this is a project that has been in the works for several years. For American Outdoor Brands, this was a project that really first showed up on our radar early this year," Parry said. 

He said the tax breaks are good for the entire community.

"We have a lot of people in our community who are underemployed and so this really allows us to the median wage in our income that's being paid in our community," he said.

Parry said the commission hopes the additional economic activity created by the two companies will mean more resources to fund the services that Boone County residents want. 

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