The City Council on Tuesday gave initial approval of a five-year property tax exemption request from WSM Industries, a long-time Wichita wholesale and manufacturing company.
Based on the city’s sliding scale for capital improvement and job creation for economic development, WSM qualified for a 59 percent tax abatement for property created by the company’s recent expansion, said Allen Bell, the city’s director of urban development.
The estimated taxable value of the exempted property for the first full year is $16,710. The council has the authority to exempt the taxes for all four of the taxing jurisdictions – city, Sedgwick County, state and Wichita school district, Bell said.
WSM, which began operation as Wichita Sheet Metal Works in 1909, added approximately 31,000 square feet to its facility at 1601 S. Sheridan. Including additional equipment, the company’s total project investment was nearly $2.2 million.
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WSM plans to add 10 employees over the next five years at an average annual salary of $31,450. Five of those have already been hired, bringing the company’s work force total to 108, according to city officials.
The company’s products include sheet metal, spiral pipe, duct and fittings, registers and grills, adhesives and tools and fasteners for builders and subcontractors.
WSM, which submitted its request in 2012, was among the last companies seeking tax abatement from the city to go ahead with its project before receiving exemption approval, Bell said. Now, a business may seek the council’s approval before proceeding with expansion, he added.
The council approved the abatement 5-0. Mayor Carl Brewer and Jeff Blubaugh were in Mexico on city business.
The company’s request will come back before the council for a required second reading next week. That request will likely appear on the council’s consent agenda.