La-Z-Boy plans plant expansion, request of tax breaks

·3 min read

Jun. 23—NEOSHO, Mo. — Officials with La-Z-Boy Inc. plan on expanding the company's Neosho plant and will request tax breaks to help pay for the new construction.

The Neosho Board of Education on Monday gave approval for Superintendent Jim Cummins to vote in favor of the tax breaks when the city's Enhanced Enterprise Zone Committee meets and discusses the matter. That meeting has been set for July 20.

According to documentation from Grow Neosho provided to board members, La-Z-Boy has planned a $29.8 million construction project for its plant at 4301 Howard Bush Drive.

It includes 60,840 square feet on the building's east side for parts distribution and 27,660 square feet on the south side for a cafeteria and office space. The company will add 16 full-time jobs as part of the expansion, according to information provided to the board.

The plant qualifies to take advantage of provisions in Neosho's codes that would allow property tax breaks of 100% over the first two years, 75% for the next eight years and 50% for the remaining life of an enhanced business enterprise zone.

The waiver would apply only to the newly constructed parts of the building, not the entire plant, said Jake Heisten, CEO of Grow Neosho. It would also only apply to the building's real property, not the machinery or other personal property inside. Heisten also said the breaks would not apply to activities such as site work.

"They are still trying to fine-tune some numbers about the total cost and the number of jobs created," Heisten said. "Also, not everything they are doing is eligible for abatement. We're getting those numbers so that all the taxing districts will understand the impact."

Cummins, a member of the Enhanced Enterprise Zone Committee, said the district benefits from the breaks in the short term if the newly added employees bring more students into the school district and also in the long term as the breaks diminish.

"By working with them, it makes their business more of a presence in Neosho," Cummins said. "It helps secure them for the long term, and they have been a great partner with the district. It makes sense to help them expand."

La-Z-Boy's current plant occupies 546,348 square feet, according to information from Newton County Assessor Cheryle Perkins. Taxes are assessed based on the building, not the undeveloped property.

Of the taxing entities that collect property taxes from La-Z-Boy, the school district collect's the largest share — the property tax rate for the district is $3.74 per $100 of assessed valuation. Other entities, such as the city of Neosho, Neosho-Newton County Library District and Crowder College, collect less than a dollar per $100 assessed valuation.

Once the Enhanced Enterprise Zone Committee meets and votes, the Neosho City Council will ultimately decide on the matter during future meetings.

Numerous attempts to reach La-Z-Boy officials for comment were unsuccessful.

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