County begrudgingly approves Titan tax exemption

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 20, 2001

In light of layoffs at Titan Tire of Natchez, a vote to grant the company a tax exemption raised concern at Monday’s Adams County Board of Supervisor’s meeting

The board approved the tax exemption 3-2. Supervisors Sammy Cauthen, Lynwood Easterling and Virginia Salmon voted in support of it and Supervisors Thomas &uot;Boo&uot; Campbell and Darryl Grennell voting against it.

&uot;How can we justify a tax exemption with the decline of employees that we have there,&uot; Grennell said.

In January, Titan Tire had about 330 employees but has since laid off at least 100.

But Supervisor Sammy Cauthen said he worried about the negative message it would send if the board did not approve the exemption.

&uot;If we start not allowing exemptions to industry it doesn’t send a very good message around the country for industrial prospects,&uot; Cauthen said.

Supervisor Virginia Salmon shared his concern, especially since Adams County has made it a policy to approve such exemptions.

&uot;Pulling the plug now would be detrimental,&uot; she said.

The 10-year tax exemption granted by Adams County saves Titan Tire about $22,157.59 annually.

The supervisors also approved 10-year tax exemptions for Johns Manville and Ethyl Petroleum Additives. Those two companies will save about $6,053.40 and $2,925.18 annually on their respective tax exemptions.

Because of how the motions were worded Monday, Grennell and Campbell also had to vote against the Johns Manville tax exemption to vote against Titan.

But Grennell said he had nothing against Johns Manville and his vote should not be inferred as his lack of support for economic development.

&uot;It’s basically taking a look at the situation we have confronting us with Titan Tire,&uot; Grennell said.

The Natchez Board of Aldermen recently approved a tax exemption for Titan Tire but required the company to inform the city before moving any equipment from the Natchez Plant.

The tax exemptions still require the approval of the State Tax Commission.