by Gordon Wolf
Update: On Friday, the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IDEA) approved Monogram Food Solutions’ request for tax benefits under the High Quality Jobs Program.
Here is the IDEA press release.
From the purchase of two brands of chilled processed meat from Sara Lee Corporation, Monogram Food Solutions has grown into one of the nation’s leading manufacturers of value-added snack foods and other foods. The company has acquired the Quality Food Processors plant in Denison and plans to modify the facility to incorporate new production lines. The $ 13.9 million investment project received tax benefits under the HQJ program. It is expected to create 125 jobs at an eligible wage of $ 18.51 per hour
City resolution supports state tax credit claim
A capital investment of $ 13.9 million and the creation of 125 jobs that would earn a base salary of $ 18.51 per hour.
That’s what Denison City Council members heard when asked to approve a resolution to nominate and support a project at Monogram Quality Foods in Denison on Tuesday.
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The resolution concerns a tax credit claim through the Iowa Department of Economic Authority (IDEA).
IDEA’s board met this morning and will likely have voted on the request by the time today’s Denison exam hits the streets. For an update, visit www.dbrnews.com.
Evan Blakley, executive director of the Crawford County Chamber & Development Council, spoke about the resolution on behalf of the company. Eric Kohler, Managing Director of Monogram Quality Foods, was also present at Tuesday’s meeting to answer questions.
Blakley said Monogram Prepared Meats, the parent company of the local plant, Monogram Quality Foods, was considering a significant expansion of the Denison plant and added that most of the $ 13.9 million in capital investment would be devoted to machinery and equipment.
He said the cost of capital is not going to be high when it comes to the property tax revenue gains for the community, but continued that the investment will mean an additional product line, which is equivalent to increasing products shipped from the plant and most importantly for the region, the 125 projected jobs that would be created.
He explained that because the demand goes through IEDA’s high-quality jobs program, Monogram is expected to achieve a base salary of $ 18.51 per hour.
“But we know things are getting higher every day. I’ve seen information through this process that it might actually increase as we get closer to hiring time, ”Blakley said.
He added that Monogram will use the Iowa Industrial New Jobs Training (260E) program.
The program helps companies create new positions through the training of their new employees. It is administered by the 15 state community colleges. In this region, it will be administered by the Western Iowa Tech Community College.
“Tax credits are going to do the heavy lifting across the state, so we’re not approaching the Town of Denison for specialized incentives. It’s really a win-win, ”said Blakley.
A requirement for the state council meeting today is the support of the local community via the resolution signed by the mayor.
“The company could make about half a million dollars in real estate improvements,” Blakley continued later. “It would be a small victory on the property tax side, but we will have to show that you are prepared to offer your standard abatement, which you would offer to anyone coming and making property improvements in the city.”
The language of the city’s property tax exemption schedule is included in the resolution that Mayor Pam Soseman signed.
Monogram Quality Foods was called Quality Food Processors until an acquisition by Monogram Foods was finalized on June 1. Food factory in Harlan, which produces precooked bacon.
The plans to increase the capacity of the Denison plant had been mentioned in articles in the Denison Bulletin and Review prior to the acquisition by Monogram Foods and were reaffirmed in a June 28 interview with the CEO of Monogram. , Karl Schledwitz.
Kohler told board members on Tuesday, “We’ve shown our growth in what we’ve done as a single factory entity, and now with the resources that Monogram brings us into what we want to do, it’s going to be a big thing for the business and, hopefully, the city and the local economy.
He said the capital improvement would be mostly internal work, but there are plans to expand the building in the future.
“You can’t put that much inside,” Kohler commented. “But it takes people. That’s what we’re trying to do, is to attract and get people to come here and work for us.
He explained that the internal expansion that was discussed Tuesday for the IDEA resolution is about more lines and efficiency.
“Jobs are being created, but at the same time we know that availability is also limited, so automation, but it’s mostly capacity, it’s mostly how to do more – smokehouse, packaging, that sort of thing.” Kohler said.
Blakley highlighted the need for more housing in light of the number of new jobs being added at Monogram Quality Foods.
“We know how tight the job market is, so where are they going to come from and how can we help this process by making sure that we at least have houses if we are going to import people to fill these positions,” Blakley said.
“The salary is good compared to other parts of the country. Our cost of living is high. But if we don’t have a place to move in for them, it won’t be net job gains. Unfortunately, they will come from other employers in our community and the region. That’s just how it would be. We don’t want to see it. Eric (Kohler) doesn’t want to see this, ”Blakley continued.
“We want this to benefit the community, so we need to find ways to add more housing units. I know this is something we all focus on, but when these opportunities present themselves I think we have to be aggressive to support them or else it won’t be a net gain.
City Councilor Greg Miller said this should benefit the entire county.
“It will belong to certain neighboring municipalities of the department, an opportunity to add housing as well. We talk to these people about the challenges, ”commented Blakley.
Miller added that some communities in the county are trying to find places for new housing additions.