PolyFirst project may get a big boost
Plan may aid development


Aug. 25, 2015

The city’s Joint Review Board recently discussed creating TIF District No. 9 to help PolyFirst Packaging with an expansion.

City Administrator Gary Koppelberger said the district could aid other vacant and expansion-ready parcels on the Dodge County side of the Dodge Industrial Park near PolyFirst, at 2261 Innovation Drive.

A TIF district uses additional property taxes generated within its borders through increased economic development to pay for infrastructure such as sewer and water, storm water management, roads, access to electricity and natural gas and other improvements.

The proposed district is located near Highway 60, Independence Avenue and Goodland Road.

“PolyFirst anticipates the initial expansion will require about $4.9 million,” Koppelberger said. “They expect the completed expansion to generate 40 jobs.”

The Joint Review Board, Plan Commission, City Council and Department of Revenue have to approve the district.

“The district’s goals are facilitating expansion of PolyFirst, the inducing of development on vacant and under-developed sites in the Dodge Industrial Park and to provide funds for public purpose projects in the area — road improvements and storm water detention,” Koppelberger said.

In April, the Council gave preliminary approval of the company’s sale of tax-exempt industrial development revenue bonds to fund the project. Final approval will come at a future meeting.

The city won’t issue the bonds — PolyFirst will — but the city supports the company by allowing it to use the city’s tax-exempt status to sell them. The bonds are attractive because investors don’t have to pay taxes on money they receive when the bonds are paid off.

PolyFirst Chief Financial Officer Andy Garni said the plan has two phases.

“First we’ll construct a new building with 20,00030,000 additional square feet of space on the parking lot’s east side,” Garni said. “In the second phase, which should begin right after the first phase is done, we plan to add 20,000 more square feet to the south of our building.”

PolyFirst is one of the largest producers of specialty plastic bags and plastic packaging in the U.S. The plant covers 50,000 square feet.

Hartford Area Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Tom Hostad said PolyFirst is working with economic development agencies, including the state Economic Development Corporation, to discuss funds for equipment and employee training. They also contacted the Department of Transportation about gaining rail access to transport raw materials instead of by truck.

Reach reporter Joe VanDeLaarschot at jvan@conleynet.com