News and Tribune

February 27, 2014

High-tech talk in Jeffersonville

Two business expansions to bring 120 jobs to city in technology sphere

By ELIZABETH BEILMAN
elizabeth.beilman@newsandtribune.com

JEFFERSONVILLE — The city of Jeffersonville is looking into adding more than 120 new high-tech jobs through expanding its business horizons.

Three resolutions involving the establishment of Rivera Group at North Port Business Centre were passed Wednesday at the Jeffersonville Redevelopment Commission meeting with a 3-1 vote.

The city council recently approved a tax abatement for the company, which produces high-tech software for the U.S. Department of Defense.

“I think that this project is a perfect fit for North Port,” said Matt Hall, executive vice president of One Southern Indiana. “The software development that they do enabling our government to identify security risks and mitigate those is a great bragging right to the city of Jeffersonville.”

The business could bring with it 96 new high-tech jobs averaging wages of more than $100,000 per year and would eventually add 24 more positions with a $2 million payroll total.

Hall said a lot of other states have tried to recruit Rivera Group through incentive dollars.

The resolutions addressed the use of tech park funds for the project as approved by the Indiana Economic Development Council, the ability for Rivera Group to acquire and convey equipment and then to lease that equipment.

Mayor Mike Moore, one of the members of the commission, voiced his approval of Rivera Group setting roots in Jeffersonville.

“The long-term effects from this are huge for the city of Jeffersonville,” Moore said.

The one dissenting vote was from James Lake, who said he was not in favor of the financial structure because he has seen how it affected MedVenture Technology Corp.

“It hasn’t panned out so well for us as a financial investment, so I don’t want to repeat it with this structure deal,” he said, adding that his vote had nothing to do with Rivera Group as a company.

Another business that expects to add jobs in the city is Amatrol Inc., which is looking to expand its existing facility from by 39,000 square feet through a tax abatement.

The expansion of the business, which produces high-tech learning or training equipment, would bring in 30 new jobs with an average hourly wage of $22. Locally, Amatrol would add $1.3 million in total payroll to its existing $7.8 million payroll.

R. Monty Snelling, redevelopment commission president, said he visited the facilities recently and was impressed with what he saw.

“The facility up there is immaculate,” Snelling said. “It makes you proud that a company like this is in Jeffersonville.”

Amatrol has put a lot of its investments back into the community, including a $10,000 summer camp for kids to learn about robotics.

“A lot of companies are all about the dollar and this is a company that gives back,” Moore said.

The board unanimously approved a five-year abatement on personal property and a 10-year abatement on the new building.

“I like that because it’s a company that’s been here and established and is wanting to stay here,” Snelling said.

MEDIAN MATTERS

The city’s two-year contract for maintaining the 10th Street median has expired, and the board discussed who should be responsible for taking care of the area.

“I think it’s time to hand that over to the city council and see where they want to get funding from,” Moore said.

Moore said that some decision needs to be made soon because landscapers start work in March.

“I don’t think we have a whole lot of time to sit around and think about it,” he said.

The median has caused debate in the past, from issues concerning plants in the median that blocked views for motorists to mulch that has caused drainage and fire issues.

The board passed a motion to relinquish responsibility of the median in the hopes that the city council or another board would take on the project.