There’s a deal on the table that could prevent a costly court fight and limit the damage to taxpayers from the closing of the Birds-Eye food processing plant in Fulton.
Fulton city lawmakers hold a special meeting Wednesday afternoon to consider accepting an offer worked out between Birds-Eye’s owner and Mayor Ron Woodward’s administration that would lower the taxes paid on the plant.
“I’m pretty much recommending the deal,” Woodward said.
He would not reveal details of the proposed agreement, which will be discussed in a closed-door session. There could be a public vote on the agreement after the private discussion.
Woodward said he is recommending the deal because it will only affect future taxes. Normally, local governments and school districts have to refund money already paid in the year the tax assessment issue is resolved.
“We settle, we don’t have to pay anything back,” he said of Pinnacle Food’s offer, which won’t happen if the dispute has to be decided by a judge.
Woodward said the proposed reduction in taxes is “substantial.”
However, he said that the lower tax level will help efforts to sell the plant. In August, Woodward revealed that the city has been asked by a potential buyer to offer significant savings on taxes in exchange for reviving the food processing and cold storage plant.
Those talks are still underway.