December 22, 2014

City Council delays action on Mistequay decision

TIm Barnum
Mistequay Gourp, Ltd., in Standish.
By Tim Barnum|News Editor
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STANDISH —Whether or not Mistequay Group, Ltd. will have its property taxes waived was put on the table for at least another month Thursday at the Standish City Council meeting.

Mistequay, a tool and die company in Standish, pays approximately $13,000 per year in property taxes and currently employs 31 people. Sherry Carpenter, the company’s Vice President, says tabling the decision until the next meeting, Aug. 20, is last second, since the paperwork on the tax exemption has to be submitted to the state, which also has to approve the property tax relief, by state regulations, in September.

“It will take us down to the wire, but we certainly can wait,” she said. “I think that’s a fair request.”

Mayor Kevin King said he felt it would be more prudent to make the decision then, since council would have a better idea if California inmates will be housed in the Standish Maximum Correctional Facility, keeping the prison open, and also keeping 45-percent of the city’s water and sewer revenue in tact.

Prior to council, which was absent three members, tabling the agenda item, Carpenter made claims as to why the business should receive property tax relief.

“We feel we’re going to make it through this and when we do, there’s going to be a lot less competition,” she said. “We have a tremendous amount of open capacity at all of our facilities right now.

“This is our largest facility,” Carpenter added, saying the Standish Mistequay facility is 55,000 square feet. “We could end up with 200 employees (when the economy rebounds).

She also says the company has started producing orders for General Motors.

Standish City Manager Mike Moran, however, had an opposing view for council when it asked for his recommendation.

“Where we’re feeling the impact is we’re looking at a $190,000 budget shortfall right now in our general fund. … If the council grants your request then we’re over $200,000,” he said, adding that could put the city in the position of having to make layoffs and put people on its payroll out of work. “Somehow or another, we’ll have to make that up and I hope it’s not on the backs of our people.

“It’s a risk.”

Mistequay Plant Controller Alan Zieglen told council about his experience in being forced to shut down plants, which could possibly happen in Standish, worst-case scenario, and added it doesn’t have any upside.

“I personally have shut down three plants and it’s ugly,” he said.

The property tax exemption, if council goes that route, would be for five to 15 years, depending on what council decides, with 25-percent of the waived taxes being phased in over the final three years of the exemption.

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