The Longmont City Council gave its final approval Tuesday night to a $6.5 million economic development incentives package for the J.M. Smucker Company's proposed $340 million manufacturing facility.
Council members voted unanimously for the ordinance detailing the incentives agreement between the city and Smucker's, which plans to construct its facility inside a Weld County portion of southeast Longmont, near East County Line Road and Ken Pratt Boulevard.
The council's approval came over the objections of Longmont-area resident Ron Krenzel, who criticized the city for providing incentives to attract a plant that will produce Smucker's Uncrustables frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
Krenzel, who lives west of Longmont, said it is "totally irresponsible" for the city to be supporting the production of a product that he charged has no nutritional value.
"Have you ever read the labels on this stuff?" Krenzel asked, contending: "This is not food. This is death."
Krenzel, who was the only member of the general public to speak at Tuesday night's hearing on the incentives ordinance, argued that Uncrustables "contains nothing but sugar and fat. It is not a food product." He said the City Council should consider "making a conscious decision about what people eat."
Councilman Gabe Santos, however, said his daughters "love Uncrustables" and that he was personally offended at Krenzel's accusation "of abusing my children" by buying the snack for them.
Later in the meeting, Mayor Dennis Coombs said that "everybody can make their own decisions" about how and what to eat.
No J.M. Smucker Company representatives spoke at the council hearing. However, in a Jan. 31 news release announcing plans to build the facility in Longmont, company President Mark Smucker said: "The Smucker's Uncrustables brand is one of our fastest growing brands, as consumers seek nutritious snacks and meal solutions for the whole family."
Nutrition information about Uncrustables' Sandwiches is available on a frequently-asked-questions page on the Uncrustables website, bit.ly/2l8Rtua.
City officials and the Longmont Economic Development Project have said the Smucker's project — expected to create at least 250 full-time jobs in its initial facility and another 250 jobs when a second phase is built — would generate about $12.34 million after both phases are complete.
That would include $6 million from 10 years of real estate property taxes; $4.2 million in business personal property taxes; about $2 million in electric franchise fee revenue over 10 years, and $140,000 from a one-time transportation community investment fee.
Parts of the city's $6.5 million incentives package include such things as: rebates for building permit and plan review fees; rebates for Longmont's sales and use taxes on construction materials; partial rebates of the business personal property taxes the city expects to collect from Smucker's; a waiver of an escrow contribution for extending Fairview Road beyond the railroad tracks, and a rebates of money the company would otherwise be required to contribute for greenway improvements.
John Fryar: 303-684-5211, firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/jfryartc
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