MUNSTER | An Evanston, Ill.-based company plans to build a solar panel manufacturing facility that will employ about 90 area residents within the next year, town officials said.
To help encourage that development, the Munster Town Council approved a preliminary resolution Monday granting a 10-year tax abatement request for the equipment going into the future renewable energy technology facility.
The facility would be built and operated by Arland Energy Systems.
A public hearing on the tax abatement process will be part of the Town Council meeting at 7 p.m. Aug. 13 at Munster Town Hall, 1005 Ridge Road.
A tax abatement would allow property taxes on the equipment to be phased in during a 10-year period and would permit the company to make significant investments in the new facility in its initial years of operation, Town Manager Tom DeGiulio said Monday.
“It’s the same type and amount of abatement that we granted Pepsi when they installed updates to their bottling operation,” DeGiulio said.
A 10-year tax abatement means the company would pay no property taxes on equipment in the first year. The second year, Arland would pay 10 percent of its property taxes, 20 percent in the third year and so on until reaching 100 percent in the 11th year.
The plant also would be in the Munster tax increment financing district, meaning a portion of the property taxes paid would be returned by the state to the town to use for improvements in and surrounding the TIF district.
“This abatement doesn’t affect residents’ property taxes. Those taxes won’t increase,” said Town Council President David Nellans.
Terry Gaouette, Arland Energy System’s chief financial officer, said the company would bring three industries to Munster: solar panel production, a clean fuel operation and a strategic beverage operation.
The 90 jobs created would be “clean, high-tech and high-paying,” Gaouette said.
“In the first year, we expect the payroll to be between $8.5 million to $9 million," he said.