Residents living in the Liberty Square complex of townhouses will see a sticker appear on their homes Tuesday, when the Ypsilanti Township Building Department places...read more
Ypsilanti Township will be taking one if its resident to court over the illegal use of township property along Ford Boulevard just south of Clark Road, owing to...read more
New machines and equipment will soon be wheeled into Ford's Rawsonville Plant in Ypsilanti Township as it begins manufacturing a line of batteries for the new global line of the Ford Electric Focus.
That property, which is usually taxed alongside real property by the township, will be exempt from taxes for a period of six years, a decision approved by Ypsilanti Township's board of trustees last
Ford Motor Company will be making a $5-10 million investment in the facility on Textile Road, according to Kathleen McIntyre, a representative from the automotive manufacturer, and expects an additional 40 jobs to be associated with the new production line.
It remains unclear, McIntyre said at the meeting, if all of the 40 jobs will be added to current employment levels at the plant, if they will be jobs that would otherwise be eliminated or if they would be some of both.. Ford expects to start tooling for the new Electric Focus model, which will be manufactured at the Wayne Assembly Plant, in 2011, and anticipates to begin the production of cars in June 2012.
The battery pack production at the Rawsonville Plant will be Ford's only such production facility for electric car batteries in the United States, according to McIntyre. Battery packs for the electric car were previously manufactured in Mexico.
“To have it back here at Rawsonville is a good thing,”McIntyre said.
Ford previously announced a plan to build electric cars in Michigan, estimating 1,000 new jobs by 2012 and a total investment of $450 million.
Township trustees voted unanimously Tuesday night in favor of granting the tax exemption, and Township Supervisor Brenda Stumbo said she was excited about Ford coming back into the community and offering new jobs.
“I am so glad that we have the opportunity as a community to have some green jobs come in,” Stumbo said. “I hope this is the beginning of a long-term relationship with Ford Motor Company and these types of products. Moving production from Mexico is huge.”
A township resident in attendance at Tuesday's public hearing regarding the tax exemption asked how many of the estimated 40 jobs would directly impact township residents.
McIntyre said all hiring for the jobs will be done through UAW union protocols and there would be no preference for Ypsilanti Township residents.
The reason the new production line is eligible for the personal property tax exemption, with board approval, is because Ford's Rawsonville Plant is located in what is considered a “distressed area,” according to Stumbo.
Township Clerk Karen Lovejoy Roe said the amount of new personal property that would have been taxed was estimated at $9-10 million, which would be a total loss of about $600-700 thousand in personal property taxes for all property tax millages, though this amount decreases yearly due to depreciation of the property.
The exemption is the first of its kind that Ypsilanti Township has ever granted, Township Attorney Doug Winters pointed out, though Stumbo said the city of Ann Arbor and Pittsfield Township have both approved similar exemptions.
As a whole, the Rawsonville Plant paid $770,889 in real property tax and $2.3 million in personal property tax in 2009.