County approves 5-year, 50 percent tax abatement for new Tyson Feed Mill

The Shelby County Commissioners' Court on Thursday morning unanimously approved granting Tyson Foods a five-year, 50 percent abatement to pave the way for construction of a new $50-million-plus feed mill operations.

The abatement on the county's portion of property taxes would mean after five years the facility would be on the county's tax rolls for the full value of the property, officials said. Tyson's Bob Chavis, project manager for milling, said among the hurdles in the project is getting state clearance from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality on environmental impact of the project.

Chavis said the company submitted the paperwork to TCEQ about two weeks ago and Tyson paid extra to have the process expedited.

“We're anxious to get started,” he said. While some grading and site work could start as soon as late June, Chavis said the company cannot start with actual facility construction until it gets the go-ahead from TCEQ.

The county's approval of the abatement agreement and setting up a related tax reinvestment zone is contingent upon Tyson completing the purchase of the property. Chavis said the company has a contract on the land needed for the feed mill and hopes to close on the purchase in the next few weeks.

Commissioner Charles Barr made the motion to approve the tax abatement and reinvestment zone with a second from Commissioner Jimmy Lout. Presiding Commissioner Roscoe McSwain, serving in that capacity in the absence of Shelby County Judge Allison Harbison, said the project is needed and wanted in the county.

“I think we should move forward today,” McSwain said. “We definitely want to see Tyson move into Shelby County with this project.”

Chavis said actual construction could start within 90-days to 120 days after TCEQ grants the project a green light to go ahead. That could put the start of construction as soon as September, he said.

Jan Nash, Tyson Director of Taxes from Springdale, Arkansas, said once in operation the plant is expected to have between 42 and 48 employees.

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