JEFFERSON — The Jefferson Common Council took almost no time Tuesday evening to unanimously approve a resolution calling for its permission for Nestle Purina Petcare Inc. to expand its plant on the city’s south side to the tune of $100 million.
According to the resolution that was ratified, Nestle Purina will now be allowed to expand and improve its manufacturing facility at 150 West Riverview Drive.
According to the plant’s manager, Chris Johnson, who gave a 10-minute summation of the company’s plans for growth for the council, the Nestle Purina investment in the project is anticipated to be, at minimum, $100 million and would add at least 75 full-time employees with average starting wages of $25 per hour, or more. It would result in the addition of 25,000 square feet or more of new facility space.
“Obviously, this is a big deal for the City of Jefferson and all of Jefferson County,” Alderman Jim Schroeder, who read the resolution said. “We are grateful and delighted that Nestle is making this investment. A $100 million or more investment and 75 or more jobs at an average wage of $25 an hour or more gives a tremendous boost to our local economy. Kudos to our mayor, city administrator and staff, as well as county economic development staff and the county administrator, for all their hard work to make this deal happen.”
Jefferson Mayor Dale Oppermann was succinct in expressing his feelings about the resolution, telling the council and those gathered at Tuesday’s meeting, “I feel like we should light off some fireworks from the pedestrian bridge.”
On Wednesday, Oppermann told Adams Publishing Group that the city appreciates Nestle’s investment in the local plant. There has been a plant of some sort on the site since 1910 and in 1948 pet food began to be made there, and the pursuit continues to this day.
Oppermann said the $100 million investment in the plant ensures its longterm viability and the expansion will provide, “family supporting jobs for 75 people, many of whom will live in the area.”
“This expansion is a credit to the company and its current and past workers, because this plant has a very positive reputation for its extreme productivity,” Oppermann said. “We have a great workforce here in the Jefferson County area.”
Oppermann said many people worked on making the expansion happen, specifically Jefferson City Administrator Tim Freitag and Engineer Bill Pinnow, along with other members of the city’s staff. Oppermann called Freitag, “the point man on this.”
“There were obstacles to overcome and I’m proud of the collaboration between the city and Nestle,” Oppermann said, adding he also appreciated the work put in on the effort by Johnson of Nestle’s. “I can’t say enough about Chris’s work on this.”
According to the resolution, the expansion of the existing facility, and investment in new equipment is anticipated to increase the company’s manufacturing capacity and accommodate new production lines, which could increase output volume by 30% or more.
“The city desires to encourage economic development and is open to grant certain financial incentives to do so,” the proposed resolution states. “The city and company have agreed to the scope, and type of improvements, and obligations needed and required for the project.”
City officials said they believe that the project, and its approval and construction, will stimulate economic activity and provide economic benefits to the city.
The council was asked via the resolution to approve and authorize a developer’s agreement between the city and Nestle Purina Pet Care regarding the expansion and improvement project, including several city obligations. These include that the city will take necessary steps for the creation of an industrial tax incremental financing district that will overlay on the company’s existing facility.
According to city officials, the city will provide a cash TIF payment to the company on an annual basis from property taxes generated by the project as reimbursement to Nestle for “project costs” that will be incurred by the company.
The resolution stated that the maximum required TIF payment will not exceed $2 million during the 20-year life of the TIF district.
The city will also collaborate with Nestle so the company is able to comply with the city’s setback requirement for the project, including the partial relocation of Main Street right-of-way which borders the property. There may also be a relocation of sidewalk within the right-of-way at the city’s expense.