2018-05-10 / Front Page

Council OKs tax abatement for proposed GM facility

By Tanya Terry
810-452-2645 • tterry@mihomepaper.com

BURTON — Community members had questions pertaining to General Motors request for an industrial facilities tax exemption certificate, which they presented to council during a public hearing May 7.

Some questions were answered at the city council meeting later that day, in which the council voted to approve a 50 percent real tax abatement for General Motors. The request was for the property located at 4020 Davison Rd.

“There’s a request for an industrial facilities tax exemption, but yet it has not been made clear exactly what the property is going to be used for,” said Marybeth Walworth, a Burton resident.

Walworth asked how the city could give a tax exemption when residents had no idea what the facility was going to be used for.

“I think we need more information first,” she said. “So, I guess I’m just asking here, can we get some more details about what they’re building there and if it’s going to impact the environment? We have a nature preserve kitty-corner from this property.”

A Grand Blanc resident present at the hearing pointed out the proposed facility was described as a warehouse.

“I’m wondering, too, how the facility is going to be used, how it’s going to affect Burton and if General Motors traffic studies will be part of the warehouse,” she said.

She said she spent a lot of time in Ann Arbor.

“I know what it’s like when a city gets taken over by traffic studies, and this could happen in Burton,” she said.

Linda Keller, a Burton resident, said she had a concern with the tax abatement.

“I just want to make sure whatever abatement we give isn’t so deep it doesn’t allow for the cost that will come from doing business with them in terms of roads and waters that will need to be repaired and those kinds of things,” said Keller. “I don’t want Burton to suffer by bringing the business in. I think the business might be a very good and viable thing for Burton.”

She said she just wanted to make sure what Burton gives up is equivalent to what the city gets in return.

Kathleen Blue, Burton resident, said there is a General Motors facility on the corner of Davison and Center roads.

“I’m just wondering if that’s going to be the same warehouse-type thing that’s going to be built,” she said. “If that is the same, are they just going to leave that building vacant? Are we giving a tax abatement for something that is going to leave an empty building?”

Council Vice President Duane Haskins called being considered for the General Motors facility a positive bright light shining in the future of Burton. He said traffic studies were a due process through the county, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and the city.

The proposed project would involve the development of a new state-of-the-art parts processing center. NorthPoint Development would build the new 1.1 million square foot facility on a 141-acre site and lease it back to General Motors for an initial term of 12 ½ years. NorthPoint and General Motors together would invest a total of approximately $65 million to complete the site. The site would be strategically placed in General Motors supply chain network, allowing them to service many areas from out of the location, according to John Blanchard, director of local government relations for General Motors. The project would begin later this month, with completion expected for early 2019. About 800 jobs are expected at the site, with approximately 450 jobs being new.

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