Caterpillar is set to receive two tax abatements from the city of Lafayette because of plans for a $73.6 million investment – despite financial issues in recent years.
The Lafayette Redevelopment Commission showed no signs of concern Thursday when it approved Caterpillar’s two new tax breaks, in addition to the two the company already enjoys.
Greater Lafayette Commerce Economic Development Vice President Jody Hamilton says the company’s investment not only will benefit Lafayette, but surrounding areas.
“With the additions in employees being added, not only does it effect this community but it’s drawing workforce from all those other counties as well,” Hamilton says.
The business has struggled in recent years as demand for its mining products has declined along with mineral prices. But financial consultant Joe Christofanelli, speaking on behalf of Caterpillar at the Thursday meeting, says the market is changing.
“At this point, I think you are in a good position in one of the segments that has some growth in it,” Christofanelli says.
The heavy equipment and machinery maker is touting the addition of 125 jobs to its Lafayette plant – but that’s the same plant which has seen a boom-and-bust cycle of hirings and firings in the past decade. This could help bring back some workers who were axed in previous job cuts.
Despite previous lay-offs the plant has had, Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski believes it’s important to help large companies like Caterpillar continue to grow.
“This is an important investment. It positions us well, I think, within the Caterpillar footprint,” Roswarski says.
Lafayette Economic Development Director Dennis Carson acknowledges the company has had its ups-and-downs, but contends the market is turning around for Caterpillar with increasing demand for the company’s mining equipment and engines.
One of the tax abatements will be for 10 years where the other will be for seven.
The city council must first sign off on the deal.