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Pasco's Mettler Toledo incentives could top $7 million

LUTZ — The local incentives that helped lure Mettler Toledo to Pasco County could top $7 million over the next decade.

The Pasco County Commission will consider the economic development package Tuesday. The projected cost to the county had been listed at $5.5 million last week on a draft agenda for the meeting.

Friday, the figure was revised to more than $7 million to include a "high-impact job-creation bonus" — a 10-year property tax break for the company estimated at $1.75 million. The incentive equates to 75 percent of Mettler Toledo's annual property tax bills for the next decade if the company retains at least 80 percent of the jobs it is bringing to Pasco.

The company and the Pasco Economic Development Council announced Aug. 23 that Mettler Toledo Safeline would close its plant in Hillsborough County and move to a new $30 million, 250,000-square-foot facility southeast of the Suncoast Parkway in Lutz. The company manufactures metal-detection and X-ray equipment for food-processing companies.

The move from Hillsborough, and a corresponding relocation of Mettler's plant near Ithaca, N.Y., is expected to bring nearly 500 jobs to Pasco County. The average annual salary at Mettler Toledo is at least $51,578, or 150 percent of the average yearly wage in Pasco, according to the county.

The incentive package includes:

• $3.05 million to extend Northpointe Village Drive to the plant site. The county is seeking a $1.2 million reimbursement of the expense from the state of Florida.

• $1.972 million for bringing 493 jobs to Pasco County. The figure includes a previously approved $555,000 to match the state's qualified target industry tax refund.

• An estimated $1.75 million in county property tax payments.

• An estimated $250,000 for county impact and permitting fees.

• $200,000 for employee training.

If the county successfully obtains the state reimbursement for the road construction costs, the tab to Pasco County would be just less than $6 million. The county will use a share of its Penny for Pasco sales tax receipts to pay for the expenses. The 10-year sales tax, renewed by voters in 2012, earmarks a projected $57 million for economic development through 2024.

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