County approves tax abatement for Air Liquide, Inc.
After holding a public hearing on the matter, Matagorda County Commissioners approved an application of a tax abatement agreement with Air Liquide, Inc. during Monday’s meeting of the Matagorda County Commissioner’s Court.
Commissioners unanimously approved the measure that would grant a declining tax abatement beginning Jan. 1, 2021 and continuing for five years.
For the first three years, the county would grant Air Liquide, Inc. a 100 percent abatement of property tax and improvement additions and equipment installed. In the fourth year, the abatement percentage will be 75 percent and in year five, the abatement percentage will be at 50 percent.
Air Liquide is proposing to construct a 2,500-ton air separation unit and all buildings, structures and facilities to be located within the county’s reinvestment zone. Air Liquide Inc. will invest $107 million into new facilities, machinery and equipment on this project.
The project is expected to create at least 10 full-time employees with a project average salary of $69,300.
County officials noted that without the reinvestment zone and the tax abatement, Air Liquide Inc. would not construct this project in Matagorda County.
“This is a project that we have been working on for quite some time,” said Mike Ferdinand, executive director of the Matagorda County EDC. “Air Liquide is a supplier to our local industries and very much the kind of economic development that I have been tasked to recruit.”
Air Liquide entered the U.S. market more than 100 years ago. Today, Air Liquide in the U.S. counts more than 20,000 employees in more than 1,300 locations, offering industrial gases and related services to customers in a range of industries, including oil and gas, chemicals, metals, construction, food and beverage, research and analysis, electronics and healthcare.
“This would help for recruitment efforts for future economic development in Matagorda County and this project would benefit Matagorda County greatly,” said Jessica Russell, executive director of the Bay City Community Development Corporation.
Air Liquide Large Industries U.S. LP supplies large quantities of industrial gases to its customers in the metals, chemicals, refining and energy industries. Due to their substantial gas consumption and their need for highly reliable continuous supply, delivery must be ensured through a dedicated plant or via the Air Liquide pipeline network. It also offers technologies and solutions that enhance customer performance through improved energy efficiency and reduced environmental footprint.
“When we started 2019, our chairman charged us with jobs and paychecks,” said Mitch Thames, president of the Bay City Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture. “And quality of life comes after you have a job and a paycheck because that is what is important. Our unemployment rate is hovering around 5.8 percent and we have made some progress so it is important that we continue to do the things that we must do to better the citizens of Matagorda County.
“We must utilize the tools that the legislature gives us to better the lives and citizens with jobs in our county,” Thames said. “This is a project that is going to work well with our other industries in the county.
Thames said Fort Bend County grew to its prominence by using the same tools that Matagorda County is using now with tax abatements to recruit new businesses to the county.
In other county action, commissioners approved the re-plate of three lots in Matagorda for the construction of a Dollar General store in Matagorda.