Louis Dreyfus took steps Thursday to seek a tax abatement from the county for an upcoming multi-million-dollar project.

Attorney Steve Snyder, on behalf of Louis Dreyfus Agriculture Industries, told the Kosciusko County Council Thursday that Louis Dreyfus was about to undertake a project in Claypool with a total value of $46 million.

“They’re looking at new bean barns, which are already partially under construction. New rail expansion. I haven’t seen the final plans on that, but if I had to guess, they’re going to finally connect the south leg of their yard to the north-south Norfolk Southern line so they’ve got a loop. There’s a new, what they call white room for the glycerin refinery. And those are the real estate improvements. They will total $22 million,” Snyder said.

Louis Dreyfus also will have personal property that’s being acquired to “support all of that” along with “additional items within the facility itself and expanding the facility,” Snyder said.

He said when the statement of benefits was filed, he tried to help out the assessors as much as he could, so he got a total personal property printout from Louis Dreyfus, though it may not be 100% accurate, but will give the assessor an idea of what to look for as far as what’s coming up under this particular project.

In 2006, Snyder said, the Louis Dreyfus project was started and it’s grown “immensely.” It currently has 110 employees with wages that are “significant to the county,” he said. The average wage of all the employees is $81,000 per employee, “in other words, good wages,” Snyder said.

The new project will bring an additional 12 employees at “annual salaries (totaling) $460,000,” Snyder stated. “And roughly $40,000 as starting for those 12 employees, and as you can tell from the average wage, the average wage that Dreyfus pays will go up.”

He said that will make the total salaries annually that Louis Dreyfus pays to employees $9,415,000.

“With the additional tax abatements that took place when the project started, those are starting to fall by the wayside now. Real estate taxes that were paid last year were $78,000. That’s going to keep going up as more of those abatements reach maturity,” Snyder said.

He said when he talked to Louis Dreyfus’ home office, they told him Kosciusko County is as welcoming as any place it has a facility. As a result, Louis Dreyfus keeps bringing in projects like this with another $46 million investment and another 12 good-paying jobs, he said.

Snyder asked the county council to approve two items Thursday night, which they did. The first was the declaratory resolution beginning the process of adoption of the final abatement resolution, and the second was a waiver.

“The statute says we have to get a waiver of the requirement that the project not begin until the economic revitalization area is established,” Snyder said. “I play it safe and say even if that’s been there for 10 years and 12 years as this has, we still need to file this waiver.”

There were no remonstrators to the request.