A public hearing was held Sept. 22 at the Scio Township board meeting on the application of Kaiser Optical Systems Inc. for the establishment of an Industrial Facilities Development District. When it came time to take action on the application, the board voted 6-0 (Richard DeLong was absent) to table the matter until its next meeting on Oct. 6 for the purpose of learning more about a tax abatement that Kaiser is applying for.
“Establishing an Industrial Facilities Development District implies we’re going to consider something else,” Trustee Jack Knowles said. “I would prefer to table it until we get more information on it.”
Trustee Donna Palmer, Treasurer for the board, expressed concern over giving Kaiser a tax relief.
“I have a hard time because you already have a big tax relief,” she said. “I find that not to be fair to other businesses.”
Trustee Christine Green commented on the loss of significant revenue to Scio Township when Dexter became a city.
Once the Industrial Facilities Development District is established, the next step will be to consider the amount of a tax abatement and how long that abatement would run for up to 12 years.
The application is for a period from December 31, 2015 to December 30, 2029.
David Schiller, Quality Assurance Manager for Kaiser Optical Systems, Inc. told the board the company has outgrown it’s current facility.
“Our business began 36 years ago,” he said. “We’ve developed a commercial line in the same building we built for military products. We just don’t fit in our building anymore.”
He said that a new building will cost $8.6 million. It will have two levels: a ground floor where production, fabrication, assembly, testing, packaging and shipping are done, and a second floor with offices, meeting rooms and light assembly.
Green asked if the expansion will mean more employees. Schiller said that they plan to add 20 to 50 employees to the 80 employees they already have.
Kaiser Optical systems is a leader in Raman Spectroscopy, spectographic instrumentation and applied holographic technology. It was formed in 1979 as a division of Kaiser Aerospace & Electronics.