McKee Foods property tax exemption approved by Collegedale commissioners

Mckee. Photo by Paola Mora3

On Jan. 4, Collegedale commissioners voted on the first amendment to an agreement that would exempt McKee Foods from property taxes as part of the company’s $500 million expansion project. 

 The original resolution between McKee Foods Corporation, the City of Collegedale and the Industrial Board of Hamilton County was first voted on March 18, 2020, by the Industrial Board of Hamilton County.

On April 6, 2020, Collegedale commissioners voted unanimously in favor of Resolution #514, the same as the March 18 resolution. 

With the approval of the resolutions, the McKee expansion project was added to the Hamilton County “Payment in Lieu of Taxes” or PILOT program. 

According to the Hamilton County website, the PILOT program allows larger companies and corporations to be exempt from paying certain property taxes. The program is handled by three Hamilton County Boards: The Industrial Development Board of Chattanooga, the Industrial Development Board of Hamilton County and the Health Education and Housing Facilities Board. The average length of granted time in the PILOT program is 10 to 20 years.

McKee released a press statement in March 2020 announcing the company would be launching a large expansion of its Apison Plant located in the 10800 block of Apison Pike. Throughout the duration of a 15-year period, McKee has agreed to invest more than $500 million in capital projects. The expansion will include new production lines and additional investments at its other Collegedale facilities, according to the press release. 

Within the first five years of work, McKee plans to spend approximately $225 million, according to the press release. Out of that amount $110 million is set to “more than double” the current size of the Apison plant and add, the company’s first new production line. 

According to the press release, McKee Foods anticipates creating 480 new jobs over the course of the entire project. The company has also committed to 125 new jobs within the first seven years. Most of the jobs will be primarily manufacturing jobs, according to Mike Gloekler, corporate communications and public relations manager. 

On Jan. 4, during a Collegedale Commission meeting, Kurt Faires, from Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel P.C., a legal representative of McKee Foods, stated that McKee will be adding Plant No. 6 and a Wastewater Treatment Plant in the plans for investment. This is an amendment to the original agreement, which only included Plants No. 2 and No. 5.

“Originally, we thought it was going to be two facilities in Collegedale,” Faires said. “… But now we’re going to spend the same investment dollars and spread them to four places here in Collegedale.”

This is the fourth major expansion of this facility, according to the press release. 

“McKee Foods is an important part of Collegedale,” said Collegedale Mayor Katie Lamb. “We are grateful that the company has chosen to continue its investment in our city with a significant expansion of its operations. We are excited for the new opportunities and the jobs that this growth will create.”

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