Longtime biz seeking tax exemption for expansion

FLINT TWP. — The township board has set a public hearing at 7 p.m. on December 19 to consider an Industrial Facilities Tax Exemption (IFT) Certificate for Hougen Manufacturing, 3001 Hougen Drive.

An IFT is a tax incentive offered to manufacturers to assist with renovation and/or expansion of aging facilities, building new facilities, and establishing high-tech facilities. Exemptions are granted for a term of 1-12 years, to be determined by the local unit of government.

Hougen has operated in Flint Township since 1956, originally located in a building on Corunna Road, now occupied by Freakin’ Unbelievable Burgers, according to a memo to the township board from Tracey Tucker, township economic enhancement director.

Hougen moved in 1996 to its current location off Lennon Road between Dye and Elms Road. Hougen makes hole drilling tools and holds several patents, Tucker said. The company ships its products worldwide and received the 2015 Exporter of the Year Award from the I-69 International Trade Corridor economic development consortium.

Hougen operates around the clock four to six day per week and currently employs 139 people. Business has improved to the point that expansion is needed.

The requested IFT would be in conjunction with a new 30,000 square-foot production and warehouse addition.

“This would be an investment of over $7.5 million and would create at least 6 new jobs,” Tucker said.

According to its IFT application, Hougen proposed to begin making building improvements in April of next year to be concluded by the end of the year. The application also proposed personal property improvements to begin in January 2017 and conclude by December 2019.

However, Township Tax Assessor William Fowler noted that October 31 was the application deadline for 2017 IFTs and Hougen’s application might not be considered until the following year, according to Township Supervisor Karyn Miller.

Township Trustee Tom Klee asked if Hougen had been made aware of this deadline. Miller said they would be notified but the deadline information just came to her attention on Monday.

Klee said he hoped it would not cause a delay in plans for Hougen.

“They are a great group. They do good work,” he said.

State Tax Commission rules state that “complete applications approved by the local unit and received by the State Tax Commission by October 31 of each year will be acted upon by December 31. Applications received after October 31 may be acted upon in the following year.”

IFT exemptions are not effective until the State Tax Commission gives final approval.

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