Springdale approves incentive for Rockline

Posted: January 24, 2018 at 1:05 a.m.

SPRINGDALE -- The Springdale City Council voted 7-0 Tuesday night to approve an investment tax incentive for Rockline Industries.

The company is in the midst of a $3.2 million expansion, of which $3.1 million will be for a new machine to develop a new product, said Perry Webb, president of the Springdale Chamber of Commerce. The expansion also comes with 25 new jobs, said Joel Slank, Rockline's director of operations in Springdale.

Other action

In other business, the city council:

• Approved a change in the city’s noise ordinance that would give the municipal judge the authority to declare a continuing violation a nuisance and shut it down. Any continuation of the noise could be declared a contempt of court violation and face additional penalties.

• Approved a $200,000 contract with the Springdale Chamber of Commerce to promote business development and economic growth within the city.

• Appointed Don Gibson to the city’s Public Facilities Board, replacing Walter Turnbow, who retired his position; reappointed Rex Bailey to the Public Facilities Board; and reappointed Al Hanby to the Water and Sewer Commission.

Source: Staff report

A state incentive program aimed at encouraging companies to expand allows refunds of state sales tax paid by companies for the materials purchased to build that expansion, explained Wyman Morgan, the director of finance and administration for Springdale. The program also provides for city and county sales taxes to be refunded. The council approved the refund of city sales tax, although Morgan said the state will process the refund and the money will never appear in the city coffers.

Slank declined to share the total amount the company will receive.

Rockline's Springdale facility makes several varieties of wet wipes. The footprint of the facility will remain the same, Slank said.

Twenty-five new jobs fits into what the Springdale market needs, Webb said. With a 2.2 percent unemployment rate, a project with 1,000 jobs wouldn't be able to find enough workers to fill the positions. Rockline should fill the new jobs in a short time, he said.

The council also approved 6-2 a one-time $15,000 payment to Ozark Regional Transit to keep the four Springdale routes of the public transit authority in operation until Feb. 15.

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The transit system faces a $338,000 shortfall in its 2018 budget and is asking the cities and counties it serves for more money to keep the system operating fully or cutting routes and hours of service.

Joel Gardner, executive director of Ozark Transit, requested $122,908 in addition to the $265,000 budgeted by the City of Springdale for 2018.

A fire in January 2017 destroyed most of the transit system's fleet. Because of the rarity of such an event, the system's insurance covered the buses only at their depreciated cost not at a new replacement cost, explained Jeff Hatley, the bus system's mobility director and public information officer. In addition, because most of the system's current buses are leased from other cities, the possibility of selling advertising to be displayed on the buses is not available. Ridership is down. Labor and operating costs are up. And Washington County cut $100,000 from its contribution, which also cut matching funds from the state.

The council will consider additional funding for Ozark Regional Transit during its Feb. 5 meeting as a committee of the whole

NW News on 01/24/2018