By CLINT FOSTER
PALO PINTO – After a public hearing in Monday morning’s meeting of the Palo Pinto County Commissioners Court, the City of Mineral Wells is inching ever closer to wooing a new ammunition factory to putting up stakes in the land of Crazy Water.
Commissioners held the hearing – which no one from the public attended – concerning the designation of a reinvestment zone and tax abatement for Texas Ultra Precision Ammunition, LLC. Mineral Wells City Council unanimously voted in favor of a resolution for tax abatement, Nov. 5, to help lure the upstart specialty ammunition factory to Fort Wolters Industrial Park instead of Fort Worth or other potential locations.
TUPA, which will primarily specialize in manufacturing unique bullets for the military and law enforcement, would potentially bolster the Mineral Wells economy by creating a multitude of new jobs and specialized training opportunities for the community.
The city’s tax abatement would cover 75 percent of the company’s valuation over the next 10 years. City officials hope that this, coupled with new-market tax credits and potentially tapping into the governor’s enterprise fund or Texas Capital Fund could be enough to convince TUPA to come to town.
The $50 million project would also bring a tax base of around $30 million to the city and would provide a significant boost in tax money even with the proposed tax abatement, as the factory would sit on a 100-acre property with a current tax value only in the $8,000 range.
County Judge David Nicklas said commissioners will hold a special meeting next Monday to create resolutions to vote on for the tax abatement, tax-exempt district and associated issues. He said the process is moving along well.
Mineral Wells City Manager Lance Howerton recently told the Index that if TUPA does choose Mineral Wells as its future home, construction of the new facility could begin in as few as six months.
The factory would be nothing short of a positive boon for the local community, both financially and vocationally.
In other business, commissioners approved:
• Monthly reports from the County Auditor, Sheriff, emergency management, Public Works and Information Technology.
• A permit to cut Sikes Road by Veritas Energy, LLC in Precinct 2.
• Request to bore West Palo Pinto Street by Santo Special Utility District in Precinct 4.
• Certification of Sheriff’s Asset Forfeiture Report for fiscal year 2013.
• Certification and budgeting of unanticipated revenue under Local Government Code Section 111.0108 - proceeds from sale of firearm to a retired law enforcement official.
• Change of Election Day polling location for Precinct 6, which will now be at the new Gordon Community Center.
• ES&S Payment Guarantee Agreement for the March 4, 2014, Primary Election.
• 2014 Primary Joint Elections Agreement between the Palo Pinto County Elections Department, Palo Pinto County Republican Party and Palo Pinto County Democratic Party.