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Deal helps draw Franklin Electric

County Council backs cash package to aid firm’s move near local airport

– Allen County Council members on Thursday lived up to their agreement on incentives meant to lure a new employer to Fort Wayne.

The board voted unanimously to approve the package for Franklin Electric, which includes payments of up to $360,000 over four years.

The maker of submersible pumps and motors is moving its headquarters from Bluffton to a 100-acre site at 9333 Coverdale Road, near Fort Wayne International Airport. It’s bringing with it 215 employees and plans to add 35 more.

The new factory is in a tax increment financing district, which means the new property taxes paid by the company on the improvements made there will go to a special fund that can be used for capital improvements within the district. The 2012 property taxes on the land were about $2,000; officials estimate Franklin will pay about $630,000 in property taxes.

Under the agreement, much of that will go to finance $25 million worth of bonds for the company.

Franklin Electric Treasurer Patrick Davis said the cost of the 110,000-square-foot factory, equipment and furniture will be about $38 million.

The cash incentives for the firm will come from county economic development income taxes. Officials said that the amount is matched to the estimated amount to be collected from the salaries for employees at Franklin and that they are based upon the investments and jobs the firm creates.

“People think we just sit here and keep writing checks,” Councilman Roy Buskirk said, “but that’s not what’s happening here.”

Officials also pointed out that Franklin Electric alone is responsible for bond payments and that taxpayers will not be on the hook if the company defaults.

Davis said the firm is on track to move into the new complex in late July.