Council grants tax abatement to CRH in hopes of expansion

The CRH plant in south Clanton could grow again after the Clanton City Council granted a tax abatement in hopes of luring an expansion project to the site.

Johnson Controls, which operates out of Milwaukee, bought CRH and its manufacturing facility on Highway 31 in late 2010 and has increased the workforce by about 300, to 800 employees.

Three Johnson Controls representatives told the council at its regular meeting Monday that a proposed tax incentive package could result in a $15 million expansion.

Plant manager Jimmy Simpler told the council that six sites in North America are vying for the project, which could add 400 more jobs.

“If you can help us get something before upper management, there’s a good chance we can get that business here,” Simpler said.

The incentive package calls for about $800,000 in abated taxes over 10 years, with half of that amount in the form of sales tax and the other half in property tax.

The council voted 5-1 to grant the abatement, with Councilman Jeff Price opposed. Price said while abatements can help lure new businesses, he is generally opposed to tax help for existing businesses.

Representatives with Johnson Controls said a final decision on which plant receives the expansion project could be reached within the month.

In other business, the council:

•Voted to submit for bids a project to install a pipe under Creekwood Road, to help with flooding.

•Gave Mayor Billy Joe Driver permission to look into what can be done with several dilapidated houses in the West End community. “It’s a public safety hazard,” Councilman Greg DeJarnett said of the houses in his district.

•Was thanked by Chilton County Chamber of Commerce Director Mike Robertson for its help with the annual Peach Jam in Clanton.

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