(Posted Dec. 20, 2018)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Medline Industries plans to build a facility in West Jefferson that will generate an estimated 200 full-time jobs over the next 20 years.
On Dec. 17, West Jefferson village council approved tax incentive agreements for the property, which sits on the south side of U.S. Route 40, across from the Ace Hardware distribution center.
Medline purchased the land from Duke Realty and will build its own 1.2 million square-foot facility at the site.
Based in Illinois, Medline is a privately held manufacturer and distributor of medical supplies and equipment. According to the tax agreements, the company plans to start hiring its first employees for the West Jefferson site in the first quarter of 2020. Once fully staffed, the company’s annual payroll will be approximately $5 million.
In previous public discussions, village leaders referred to the development as “Project Maple.”
In other development action, council approved a pre-annexation agreement with Duke Realty involving 250 acres on the north side of U.S. Route 29, west of the Ohio Department of Transportation garage. Duke Realty hopes to develop the site for up to seven distribution or manufacturing facilities. The agreement calls for annexing the acreage from Jefferson Township into the village.
The request now goes to the Madison County commissioners for review. If the commissioners approve the agreement, it will go back to the village for final approval.
Council also approved realignment of its Community Reinvestment Area at Routes 29 and 40 in order to accommodate a tax increment financing agreement for the new Amazon fulfillment center. The 855,000 square-foot facility is expected to open in June 2019.
Water and sewer rate increases
The village’s water and sewer fees are going up. In a 6-1 vote, council approved a 5 percent increase in water rates for next year and a 2 percent increase for each year after. The sewer rate will go up 10 percent in 2019 and again in 2020, 5 percent in 2021 and 2022, and 2 percent each year from 2023 onward.
Council member Doug Eakins cast the one “no” vote, saying he doesn’t like the automatic increases.
Council President Steve Johnston said the increases will help with maintenance at both plants. John Mitchell, director of public service, said the increases in the sewer rates also will help to pay for improvements made at the waste water plant to improve water quality.
As for the automatic increases, Mitchell said council can revisit the water and sewer fees at any time to consider adjustments.
Also at the Dec. 17 meeting, council:
* authorized Mayor Ray Martin to make the first payment for purchase of land from the Jefferson Local School District. Earlier this month, the village agreed to buy Garrette Park and the adjacent property, once home to the Frey school, from the school district for $200,000. The first payment of $100,000 includes $4,000 for closing costs. Martin said the village should close on the sale by the end of this month.
* authorized Mitchell to accept a proposal from Command Heating for a new heating system at the village’s street garage at a cost of $15,790.
* renewed its agreement with Medical Mutual of Ohio for village employee health insurance benefits. Johnston said the rate is up 9.5 percent over last year but was the lowest rate offered and is guaranteed for two years. He said there will be no change in benefits or copays for employees.