Kzoo commissioners to discuss extending tax incentive for packaging plant

Kalamazoo County

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — The Kalamazoo City Commission will meet Monday night and give the community an opportunity to weigh in on a controversial tax incentive for the expansion of a paper packaging plant. 

The commission will hold a public hearing on a resolution to ‘provide a 5-year extension to the Industrial Facilities Tax Exemption granted to Graphic Packaging International, LLC in 2020 and to approve an amendment to the Exemption Certificate Agreement between the City and Graphic Packaging International.’

Some Kalamazoo residents have been outspoken about the tax incentive, saying the plant emits dangerous pollution and has a strong unpleasant odor. There are ongoing negotiations between the state and the GPI to address air quality issues. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy said earlier this year that has received 80 odor complaints about the plant since 2010 and issued eight odor violations since 2012, but never issued a fine. 

The extension on the tax exemption from the city would allow the company to expand, adding a new facility that would make it possible for GPI to manufacture approximately 500,000 tons of coated recycled paperboard each year in Kalamazoo. The construction expansion is expected to take two years and bring 1,000 jobs to Kalamazoo during the construction time period.

Separately, the commission will also vote on accepting the city’s nearly $39 million allocation of federal COVID-19 relief dollars. They’ll also vote on a resolution declaring gun violence a public health crisis and allocating $1 million of that relief money for ongoing community violence intervention.

Monday’s meeting will start at 7 p.m. and can be viewed live on the city’s YouTube and Facebook. To address the commission during the meeting you can call 269.226.6573 to leave a recording between 6:30 p.m. and the end of the public comment period or send comments to citycommission@kalamazoocity.org. You can find the agenda and read the full resolution here

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