IFS Coatings construction

Construction equipment sits at the ready on site just west of the IFS Coatings headquarters building at 3601 I-35 in Gainesville.

Members of the Gainesville Hospital District Board of Directors recently approved a 70% tax abatement over 10 years on a $6.5 million expansion project for a manufacturer in town.

IFS Coatings CFO Kevin Keene told board members during a Zoom video conference Monday, March 22, that the company is building a 40,000-square-foot facility. It’s phase one of a 70,000-square-foot expansion plan next to the existing IFS Coatings headquarters and manufacturing plant at 3601 N. I-35. The company expects to open the new facility later this year, according to a previous Register report.

“The plan is continue to grow the business that started in 1999 in Gainesville,” Keene said.

According to the abatement agreement, the company plans to add 20 additional full-time jobs.

Keene said last week administrative and manufacturing jobs would be added.

The powder coatings manufacturer has about 140 employees in Gainesville, officials said, with the average wage being more than $16 per hour.

Keene said over the past 10 years, the company has grown its business about 14% every year with the exception of this past year, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The vote to approve the 70% tax abatement over 10 years was unanimous. Board member Brian Winters was not present, according to board member Shane Lee. Lee serves as the board’s secretary.

Board member Ken Arterbury made the motion, while adding he’s “never made a motion for an abatement yet.”

In late January, members of the Cooke County Commissioners’ Court also agreed to give IFS Coatings a tax abatement. However, they negotiated their agreement.

Without an abatement, the company would pay the county $27,400 in taxes, according to Cooke County Precinct 1 Commissioner Gary Hollowell. With a 70% abatement, the company would pay $8,200 in county taxes per year, he said, on $6.5 million worth of new property.

“Seventy percent would be aggressive in my opinion,” Hollowell said of the request from IFS Coatings.

Mason did ask commissioners to look at the history and growth of the company including how it worked with its employees during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We did not actually let anybody go,” he said of the pandemic. “We kept all employees on, in addition to paying for them when they were unable to work, as we still do.”

He said the company was classified as an essential workplace as it supplies the medical industry.

The 20 additional full-time employees have to be employed by 2024, members of the court confirmed with IFS Coasting President Glynn Mason during the January meeting.

The abatement agreement included hiring either 20 full-time or 40 part-time employees, according to Hollowell.

Mason said the company prefers full-time employees.

The Gainesville facility is currently appraised at $12 million. The abatement won’t apply to the existing facility, just the new expansion and its equipment that’s estimated to be a total of $6.5 million.

Former Cooke County Judge Jason Brinkley suggested the county allow an abatement for 70% over five years instead of the requested 10 years.

Hollowell said he would look at 50% over five years.

After additional discussion, members of the commissioners’ court agreed to allow IFS Coatings to receive a 70% abatement over five years. Hollowell opposed. All members of the court were present for the Jan. 25 meeting.

Members of the Gainesville City Council approved a 70% tax abatement over 10 years for IFS Coatings in December 2020.

Six years ago, IFS expanded to Ardmore, Oklahoma, Mason said. The company employs a total of 225 people.

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