MICHIGAN CITY — Calumet Pallet, which moved to the city from Hammond in 2013, has had the tax abatement revoked on its investment.
The City Council this week revoked the 10-year property tax abatement, citing failure by the maker of wooden pallets to live up to projections in areas like job growth in exchange for the tax break.
‘’We don’t want to look like we’re anti-business, but we’re giving significant money for these companies to do what they say they are going to do, and they have not complied,’’ Councilman Bryant Dabney said.
The decision was also influenced by a dozen citations for alleged code violations at the business located at 4333 Ohio St.
Fire Marshal Kyle Kazmierczak said none of the code violations, like pallets stacked too close to fire hydrants and sprinkler systems not being maintained, have been rectified by owner Jeff Bridegroom.
"He made promises, but nothing has been addressed at all," Kazmierczak said.
Clarence Hulse, executive director of the Economic Development Corp. Michigan City, suggested the company be given another chance to keep the tax abatement on its $2.7 million investment on a 93,000-square-foot facility.
The vote to pull it, though, was unanimous.
"We have made numerous attempts to work with this gentleman. We have not seen a bit of action," said Sue Downs, director of code enforcement.
Councilman Tim Bietry also said Bridegroom wrote a letter he felt was insulting to local government and citizens "who he claims are unwilling to work and show up on time for work."
Hulse said about 40 people are employed by the company, which also repairs old pallets and recycles pallets into products like mulch and animal bedding.
He also said the company never collected on the tax abatement because the necessary paperwork was never submitted to the LaPorte County Clerk’s office.