Council approves Freshway Foods and Aunt Millie’s Bakery abatements

SIDNEY — Sidney City Council authorized tax abatements, Monday evening, for Freshway Foods and Perfection Bakeries to encourage growth in Sidney.

Council unanimously passed the two tax abatement resolutions for each business after the tax incentive negotiating committee recommended approval at its Aug. 9 meeting.

Freshway Foods plans to expand its existing building, construct a new building and make site improvements to the property located at 601 N. Stolle Ave. The business’s proposed investment for construction, furniture and fixtures ranges from $10,450,000 to $13,200,000. The expansion will add 25 jobs to Freshway’s current 330 positions. The estimated tax abatement, based on construction and job creation/retention, for a 10 year term at 75 percent, is $1.3 to $1.7 million.

Barbara Dulworth, Community Services director, said the project will begin after the first of September, in response to Council member Janet Born’s question about commencement.

Perfection Bakeries, also known as Aunt Millie’s, plans to expand its existing building, located at 1900 Progress Way, for production and distribution. The business’s proposed investment for construction, machinery, equipment and inventory ranges from $1,750,000 to $2,150,000. The expansion will add 20 jobs to the current 87 positions. The estimated tax abatement for a 10 year term at 51 percent, based on construction and job creation/retention, is $75,000 to $93,000.

Jay Miller, chief financial officer at Perfection Bakeries, said they “were happy to be here and happy to be part of the Sidney community.” They have “really good employees,” he said, and are looking forward to continuing to grow their operations here. He said Sidney is a great place to be and the location is “pleasing” because of the “Interstate system.” They want to get the expansion started “quickly,” Miller said.

Mike Dodds, executive director of Sidney-Shelby Economic Partnership, was in attendance and thanked council for authorizing the tax abatements and for their “forward thinking.” He also thanked the businesses for their investment in the community, and noted that there is a “great work force in Shelby County.”

Mayor Mike Barhorst thanked Miller for making the trip from Indiana. Council member Steve Wagner praised Freshway Foods and Perfection Bakeries for “reinvesting in our community.”

In other business, council also adopted two other resolutions to authorize the consumption and possession of alcohol on public property and for the city manager to enter into a special event use agreement with Raise the Roof For the Arts.

Vice Mayor Mardie Milligan abstained from the vote, stating she is on the Raise the Roof board of directors.

The resolution authorizing alcohol consumption on public property will be during the Raise the Roof for the Arts dedication of the new Historic Sidney Theatre marquee on Oct. 3. In conjunction with the previous resolution, council also passed a resolution to allow closure of part of Poplar Street, and the abutting sidewalk for the dedication and outdoor cocktail party called Relight the Marquee Street Party. The event is an invitation only donor appreciation party in honor of the soon to be placed marquee and other theatre renovations.

City Manager Mark Cundiff said the event will not interfere with traffic flow because only the sidewalk and no parking zone in front of the theatre will be blocked off from 1 to 10 p.m.

Born voiced concern about people getting home safely and asked if alcohol consumption will begin early in the day and go until late.

Cundiff said the event will begin at 6 or 7 p.m. and will be over by 9 p.m. He said they will use the extra time to set up and tear down the event. Cundiff said there will be no sale of alcohol; only complimentary wine will be given to invitees of legal drinking age, and security will be present to ensure people are being safe.

Council also went into an executive session for the possible investment or expenditure of public funds to be made in connection with an Economic Development Project. No action was taken when council emerged from the session. Council member Darryl Thurber was absent and was excused by council.

By Sheryl Roadcap

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.