Youngstown council will consider a tax abatement to a ‘chill-can’ company

By David Skolnick


City council will consider legislation Wednesday authorizing the board of control to give a tax abatement to a $20 million self-chilling beverage can company and to lend $923,700 to a chair company planning an expansion project.

Joseph Co. International – owners of the trademark to the “chill-can,” which allows a drink to be chilled in less than a minute – is seeking a 75-percent, 10-year real-property tax abatement. The abatement would save the company $313,142 over the 10 years with Joseph Co. paying $86,841 during that time.

The city approved a $1.5 million development grant to the company two weeks ago that includes the purchase and conveyance of property, and demolition assistance.

The company will be in full operation by 2018, starting with 50 employees and having 257 after three years in business. The company’s annual payroll will be $5 million once it’s fully operational with the average job paying $10 an hour.

The location is bounded by Oak Street, North Fruit Street, Himrod Avenue and the Madison Avenue Expressway. It was a largely vacant East Side neighborhood with nearly every property owner in that location having sold to the city.

Also on council’s agenda is a proposal to lend up to $923,700 to Gasser Chair Co. Inc. of 2559 Logan Way for an expansion project at its 75,000-square-foot warehouse facility and increase its manufacturing operations, said T. Sharon Woodberry, the city’s director of community planning and economic development department. The company makes chairs for casinos, restaurants and hotels.

If approved, the company would be permitted to borrow the money for up to 18 months at 0.25 percent interest as long as the loan is guaranteed by an irrevocable letter of credit from a lending institution.

The company plans to convert a portion of its warehouse and use it for manufacturing that currently is done in Berlin in Holmes County, Woodberry said.

“They’re a very well-established business, and the expansion is pretty significant,” she said. “They are making a major commitment to grow, and we want to support that.”

Gasser, in business for 70 years, employs 94 and plans to create an additional 25 jobs with the expansion plan, Woodberry said. Previous media reports have put the company’s Youngstown staff between 125 and 160.

In addition to the loan, the city also is planning to give the company a $50,000 grant, split evenly between its water and wastewater funds.

Also on Wednesday’s agenda is a reconsideration to spend up to $115,000 on 2,386 more 96-gallon bins for the city-run residential garbage program.

At its Oct. 19 meeting, council members said they wanted more information on the need for that many extra carts before authorizing the purchase.

Mayor John A. McNally had suggested getting half of the requested amount, 1,193, which would cost about $55,000. But council members insisted on waiting for the data before making a decision.

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