Hannibal’s $65 Million Dollar Question
One of Hannibal's largest employers is seeking incentives to facilitate a $65 million expansion. The Hannibal City Council approved a non-binding resolution that calls for issuing $65 million in industrial development bonds for the General Mills plant .
Northeast Missouri Economic Development Director George Walley presented the plans to the city council Tuesday evening. The bonds would fund $7 million in real property improvements and $58 million in new equipment for a new soup line. General Mills is asking for a 50% tax abatement for 10 years on real property improvements and new equipment. Other incentives include a 10-year renewal of the General Mills East Warehouse lease with the city.
General Mills Hannibal Plant Manager John Komor says adding the new soup line will make the Hannibal Plant one of the largest in North America. The new soup line comes as the result of the decision to close a plant in New Jersey.
The Hannibal plant currently employs 920 people. Komor says the expansion is not expected to add a significant amount of jobs due to company cost-cutting measures and automation. Komor says at a minimum, employment should remain stable. He says the Hannibal plant has not had permanent layoffs in 31 years. The plant has an annual payroll of $80 million.
In other business:
• Prospect league baseball could return to Hannibal in 2018. The council authorized the Mayor to sign a new Clemens Field lease agreement with the current Hannibal Cavemen owners. City Attorney James Lemon says the agreement better defines responsibility for stadium upkeep. It also gives the city more leverage should the owners not field a team in the future. Lemon cautions this is not a guarantee that the Hannibal Cavemen will field a team next year—but it is a first step.
• City Manager Jeff LaGarce presented a plan to address wetland issues as the business park off Shinn Lane is developed. LaGarce says a central-stormwater detention system is efficient and attractive to prospective businesses. He says the ideal solution is to use existing wetlands in the area for stormwater detention. However, environmental regulations mandate fines if wetlands are disturbed. Those fines could cost the city $384,000. An alternative is to create new wetland areas of the same size. LaGarce’s plan is to open up stormwater lines on three city-owned properties:
1. Southern arm of Lemon St., south of Colfax.
2. Across Sycamore St., betweens Adam and Fulton.
3. Zeigler St. / Foot of Riverview Park.
The council voted in favor of drafting the stormwater/wetlands mitigation plan.
• The council approved an agreement with the new owner of the Union Street Express property. George Lee plans to rehab the site and then lease it. He had requested the city waive $1100 of back taxes owed by the previous owner. City Manager Jeff LaGarce says that is not legal. However, the city will provide $1100 toward any public portion of the project, such as parking lot improvements, lighting, or asbestos removal.
• Approval was given to purchase flood-plain property at 813 Vermont Street from Henry Smith for $6550.
Second and Final Readings were given to:
• The FY 2017-2018 Budget Bill.
• A Payroll Bill authorizing payment of salaries and wages to city employees in FY 2017-18.