Colby to lose staple industry
By Kris Leonhardt
MARSHFIELD — The Marshfield Common Council voted 9-0 during a special meeting held Aug. 10 to move forward with a developer’s agreement with Packaging Corporation of America (PCA) that will relocate the production facility in Colby to Marshfield.
Mayor Chris Meyer said city staff were first made aware that the company was looking to relocate and expand when they were contacted by a Marshfield area business owner in early June. Meyer commended city staff for pulling together an agreement together so quickly.
“It’s probably one of the largest developments we have had in better than a decade here in Marshfield,” stated Meyer. “It’s come together very quickly, and tonight the council heard the development agreement has been drafted with Packing Corporation of America. … This is a significant project for our community because it relocates 80 jobs to our community and provides a potential for an additional 20 new jobs once the factory is completed and expansion is underway.
“This development is for a 270,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. This will be located directly north of the Silvercote facility that was constructed about a year ago in the Yellowstone Industrial Park on the east side of Galvin Avenue.
“The city’s obligations for this project include providing financial incentive to the organization building the facility as well as to provide rail service. Rail service is going to be a challenge, but we are going to be able to do that.
“All of the funding for this particular development is going to be covered by the future taxes paid by the facility. Our development agreement is also worded in a such a way that we have some protections in there for the taxpayers, such that we anticipate a $15 million cost to build the facility. We anticipate somewhere in the neighborhood of a $10 million final assessment. Given our current tax rate, that would generate in a 10-year period $2.4 million or about $2.9 to $3 million over 12 years. The incentive being provided by the city for this development is about $2.8 million plus the return of their land acquisition dollars. They will be paying approximately $300,000 for property that we will return to them after the project is completed, so that gives us a total of a $3.1 million incentive. However, if we subtract that $300,000 that they are giving us that we will be giving back, that leaves $2.8 (million), which will be paid for by the TIF (tax incremental financing) and … the $240,000 in annual tax revenues, slightly over 10 years — that 11- and 12-year range — to fully return that investment that we are making in this development.”
The PCA plant in Colby is one of three full-line plants in the state of Wisconsin. Wisconsin’s other full-line plants are in Burlington and Milwaukee.
“Again, this was significant here in Marshfield because diversifying our manufacturing base is important. We are a health care community. I think most people recognize that. We are an agricultural community, but we are also a manufacturing community,” Meyer said.
PCA has a history in Colby that spans a half century. Its landlocked location and need for expansion led to the company’s desire to move.
Meyer stated that PCA had considered multiple locations before narrowing it down to two and eventually choosing Marshfield as its new home.
Construction is scheduled to be completed in Marshfield in 2018. Once the new plant is functional, the Colby facility will be closed.