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Cookeville Putnam IDB Approves Ficosa PILOT Agreement Amendment

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Cookeville Putnam IDB Approves Ficosa PILOT Agreement Amendment

The Cookeville Industrial Development Board officially approved amending its PILOT agreement with Ficosa

The change lowers Ficosa’s employee threshold from 900 employees to just over 600. The Payment in Lieu Of Taxes agreement is between the city, the county, and the company as an incentive for the business to relocate or expand.

The board debated the need for adaptability versus the need for precedent. Chair Bob Bell said it was probably one of the hardest decisions the board will make this year.

“Predictability, stability, bureaucracy are sort of the left side of the equation and the right side is the agility and profitability side,” Bell said. “So it’s a rock and a hard place. They are both important principals.”

Cookeville President Tony Ibanez said due to changes in the industry over the last three years, they have been unable to meet the standards set in the original PILOT agreement with the IDB board.

Ibanez said that his goal now is to do more with less and focus on quality over quantity. He said while the number of employees is fewer than the original agreement, he believes the community will still get the economic benefit they had expected.

“The rules and our circumstances around our business have changed significantly in the last five, six years,” Ibanez said. “But that doesn’t mean we aren’t bringing to the community what we committed. Now even though we have less employees, with all the inflation with our payroll that before was $21 million, now it’s $32 million. So even though we have less people, people are still bringing to the community what the IDB expected. ”

Cookeville-Putnam County Chamber of Commerce CEO Amy New said that Ficosa had set itself apart from other non-complying companies in terms of its community involvement and investment.

“Obviously I’m not a voting member of the board but I do see from being the economic development organization for this county, both the chamber and the highlands, there are four things that set Ficosa apart from others that are not in compliance,” New said. “And that is the fact that one, you all have increased the wages almost $5, starting wage per person. Your capital investment with the equipment. As well as the willingness from you all to participate in every single career fair, job fair, you’re the only industry that’s done this that’s not in compliance.”

The board approved the agreement amendment almost unanimously. Board member J.D. Parks voted no.


The post Cookeville Putnam IDB Approves Ficosa PILOT Agreement Amendment appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.