October 22, 2014

Endangered business

Mistequay Group asks city council to waive property taxes

Tim Barnum
The Mistequay Group, Ltd. location in Standish.
By Tim Barnum|Staff writer
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STANDISH — Another Arenac County business taking a beating in the recession is seeking tax relief.

Sherry Carpenter, Vice President of Mistequay Group, Ltd., a tool and die company that includes a factory in Standish, made a case at the Standish City Council meeting on June 18 to have its property taxes waived for five to 15 years, with payments from the business to Standish-Sterling Community Schools, the Mary Johnston Memorial Library and the Bay Arenac Intermediate School District provided by the state if the property taxes are waived. Carpenter added that if the taxes were waived, in the last three years of the exemption the taxes would be phased back in.

“This is a sincere request and plead on behalf of our business,” Carpenter said to council. “In the last two years, we’ve invested quite a bit of money in the exterior of the building, the interior of the building.”

“The tool and die industry is one of the hardest hit industries in the state,” added Margaret O’Riley, of O’Riley Consulting, in defense of Mistequay receiving the property tax relief.

According to Carpenter, Mistequay currently employs 31 people, 23 of whom reside in Arenac County, down from 51 total employees at the end of 2007. She says employees are paid an average of $26,000 per year and frequent many Standish businesses.

The request is putting city council on the hot seat and is similar to a request made earlier this year by Competitive Machining, which was granted an extension on its Industrial Facility Tax (IFT) abatement, despite employing ten people less than the IFT deal with the city called for. Competitive Machining’s IFT has the company paying half of its property taxes to the city, however that deal was in its eleventh of twelve years, while the Mistequay deal would be just beginning.

Carpenter’s presentation said the city would lose a little over $13,000 in revenue per year if the taxes were waived.

“Basically they’re (Mistequay) asking for their property taxes to be waived for five plus years,” said city manager Mike Moran. “I wouldn’t exclude it, it’s up the council.”

“We’re currently in a situation of financial straits,” said council member Richard Vollbach, referencing the recent loss in water/sewer revenue incurred by the city due to the closing of the Standish Maximum Correctional Facility. “That’s (approximately $13,000) revenue that currently, we’re counting on.”

“What are the consequences if we don’t do this?” added council member Mark Winslow, who was also hesitant on granting the IFT extension to Competitive Machining. “Sometimes it’s hard for me to believe if their company is so dependent on this (tax relief), that they don’t have bigger issues.”

Carpenter said the company would have to know if Standish City Council would waive property taxes by September. According to the company’s Web site, Mistequay Group Ltd.’s “Customers include the Aircraft & Aerospace, Satellite / Launch Vehicle, Automotive, Off-Highway, Defense, Agriculture, Hydraulics and other Industries who require precision machined manufactured parts with the rigid application of high quality standards.” The Web site also says Mistequay has five plants and offices, four of which are in Michigan.

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