Archive for Thursday, March 30, 2000

Tractor company interested in Eudora

March 30, 2000

As Eudora continues to grow, housing developments and school expansions are continually brought to the forefront of the city's future plans. And if all goes well for one Kansas industrial company, it will make its home in Eudora and aid in the city's ongoing growth.

City council members were presented with a proposal Monday night, which if approved, will help Royal Tractor Company Inc. move its entire operation to 12 acres of Intec Business Park. The company builds vehicles which carry a massive amount of weight, catering to steel, automotive, aerospace and heavy manufacturing.

"We've been developing plans to move for more than five years," said Jim Hardwick, Royal Tractor president.

Hardwick said the lease for the company's current location in New Century, Ks. has expired, and he would like to move his 93-man operation with the hope to begin construction as soon as possible. After looking at one possibility in Missouri and two others in Kansas, he said Eudora is where the company would like to move.

"Our main focus right now is in Eudora," Harkwick said. "Probably the main thing is rural development, on top of an established business park. We would like to start building as soon as possible."

To get the ball rolling, the company requested the city of Eudora show its intent to apply for a Community Development Block Grant, which is a federal grant allocated through the state. If approved, the state will award $750,000 to Royal, who will then repay the grant to the city and then back to the state. Royal also requested the city sponsor $5.5 million in Industrial Revenue Bonds to cover construction cost and future expansion, with a tax abatement of 75 percent over a 10 1/2 year period. The grant will be awarded June 1.

In effect, the city council will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, April 12, at 7:30 p.m. to consider the application to be submitted. Steven Robb, from the business and technical institute of Pittsburg State University, said the venture would be risk-free to Eudora, even if a company would for any reason not be able to pay the allocated money back.

"This will have no impact for debt status for any future bonds," Robb said. "There is no liability for the city, even if the company doesn't pay the money back."

Gerry Cooley, city attorney, advised that no tax abatement should exceed 50 percent and for no longer than 10 years under the current policy. The city will have to decide if it wants to change for this project to proceed, he said.

"Just because you've adopted the resolution doesn't mean you're going to issue the bonds," Cooley said.

As the presentation came to a close, Ray Barmby, financial consultant for Royal thanked the council for its time, but expressed urgency in the project. The applications for the grant must be filed by April 15.

"We can't spend a dime until the governor says, 'O.K. Eudora, you've got the loan," Barmby said.

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