Monogram Foods Haverhill Construction Could Begin by Summer as Council Approves Tax Plan

Economic and Planning Director William Pillsbury. (WHAV News file photograph.)

The City Council last night gave its approval to providing tax breaks to Monogram Foods in return for that company opening a new plant in Haverhill.

Monogram Foods, maker of Wild Bill’s Beef Jerky and other food products, and Mayor James J. Fiorentini have been negotiating the proposal for several months.

The 10-year tax plan would allow Monogram to pay 30 percent of its property taxes for its first four years. The rate would then increase by 10 percent annually until the company is paying the full tax rate of approximately $156,000 after six more years. The tax arrangement is part of an arrangement with the state, which would also provide tax credits to help the company’s move to Haverhill. The state Economic Incentive Coordinating Council is scheduled to consider its contribution June 18.

The mayor explained the tax breaks were a quid pro quo agreement where Monogram would provide up to 354 new manufacturing, warehousing and distribution jobs within its first three years of operation. Community Development Director William Pillsbury added these jobs will not be just minimum wage jobs either.

“The owner of this company, the CEO, Mr. Schledwitz from Tennessee came up here and met with the mayor and talked about the fact that these are not minimum wage jobs. These are going to be well paying jobs in the manufacturing range. They’ll obviously have some warehouse jobs and support jobs but at the same time, they’re going to be jobs that will be able to provide a meaningful wage for families in the Haverhill area,” Pillsbury said.

Monogram Foods already has a location in Wilmington, but would like to expand within the state and likes Haverhill because of its proximity to Interstate 495. The company is interested in a now vacant lot on Computer Drive, off Route 97. Pending state approval of the tax program and local building approval by the Conservation Commission the mayor expects construction of the facility to begin this summer.

The resolution passed by a vote of 7-0 with Councilor Michael S. McGonagle absent and Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua abstaining because of his role on the state board that approves the credits.

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