Home News Valpo council narrowly grants Lake Cable tax abatement, fear of ‘free stuff’

Valpo council narrowly grants Lake Cable tax abatement, fear of ‘free stuff’

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Valpo council narrowly grants Lake Cable tax abatement, fear of ‘free stuff’

Valparaiso City Council members narrowly approved a resolution for a tax abatement for Lake Cable of Indiana, LLC for an assessed valuation tax deduction for personal property by a vote of 4 to 3 after much discussion at the March 25 council meeting.

“I don’t want anyone to mistake that the basis for this abatement was not born out of financial necessity as opposed to taxpayers being forced to pay a form of ransom for the jobs and added capacity,” explained Council President Robert Cotton, D-2nd, before voting against the resolution and expressing dislike of the suggestion Lake Cable might move operations to a competing city.

“Honestly, one can throw out all of the flattering comments about a commitment to Valparaiso. The decision as to whether or not to expand Lake Cable’s Valparaiso footprint seems to clearly hinge upon which city meets their sense of entitlement with the best package of free stuff.”

Other opposition votes to the resolution came from council members Barbara Domer (D-3rd) and Ellen Kapitan (D-At-large), while members Diana Reed (D-1st), Jack Pupillo (R-4th), Peter Anderson (R-5th) and Emilie Hunt (D-At-large) cast the balance of favorable votes to pass the resolution.

“If it weren’t for the promise of 40 full-time jobs with benefits attached to keeping this company in our community, I would be more inclined to agree with Council President Cotton on this matter,” Hunt reasoned.

“When it’s 40 full-time jobs, that’s a lot for our city.”

Lake Cable Chief Financial Officer Mike Sheffieck joined Valparaiso Director of Development George Douglas to address the council to explain the tax abatement request.

He said when averaged, an annual starting salary of $52,000 or higher plus benefits would be attached to each of the new 40 job positions hired for the expanded operations.

According to the Lake Cable website, the company, which manufactures cables and copper components and casing, started in 1995 on Chicago’s west side and has since “grown into a true wire and cable marketplace competitor with more than 450 employees and five plant locations in Illinois and Indiana.”

Sheffieck said the Valparaiso location at 2700 E. Evans Ave. would still have remained part of the company landscape, even if the tax abatement was not granted.

“To be honest, rather than expanding with our current plan for the Valparaiso location with the 40 full-time jobs at stake, if we didn’t get the tax abatement, we would be looking to move all of the existing operations and any plans for expansion to another city able to accommodate us, and we would then use our current Valparaiso property for just a warehouse and storage purpose,” Sheffieck said.

Douglas reminded the council that Indiana ranks fifth in the nation for attracting and retaining new businesses because of the consideration and granting of tax abatement and incentives. He further emphasized the competition among communities within Indiana “is fierce” when trying to attract businesses and encourage expansion.

Douglas said the resolution for tax abatement granted for Lake Cable is “on a scaled phased-in formula over the course of seven years.”

Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Rex Richards addressed the council following the passing of the resolution and applauded the decision.

“Decisions such as this one for tax abatement and incentives are so key for the future of Valparaiso, jobs and development,” Richards said.

“Valparaiso is on track to being the next Silicone Valley.”

Philip Potempa is a freelance reporter for the Post-Tribune.



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