Calcasieu School Board approves tax exemptions for three companies

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, March 15, 2023

By Emily Burleigh

American Press

The Calcasieu Parish School Board approved three industrial tax exemption programs (ITEP) at Tuesday’s meeting.

The first of these was an ITEP for the new Crying Eagle Brewery that is planned to be built on the lakefront. Eric Avery, Crying Eagle Brewery owner and founder, said that this project will cost just over $10 million just to construct the building – land, parking, site work equipment and soft cost not included.

The ITEP requested was a tax exemption of 80 percent over the course of ten years, resulting in an estimated $104,229 in forgone revenue for CPSB. The ITEP states that five new direct jobs will be created with a payroll of $140,000 by 2024 and 41 construction jobs will be created with $1,236,256 in payroll.

The ITEP only applies to the manufacturing component of the lakefront project, Avery said.

Dean Roberts, District 6, noted that the revenue produced by the Brewery’s restaurant and tourism revenue should offset the gap in tax revenue. “If you can’t get behind this, you can’t get behind Lake Charles.”

Russell Castille, District 12 and board president, echoed this sentiment. “To have someone local do this to our Lakefront… I appreciate what you’re doing.

“I want you to know that this project will make an impact in our community,” Avery said. “We are a staple in this community, and I don’t take this lightly.”

This ITEP was approved unanimously.

The second ITEP on the agenda for LACC LLC – a chemical plant in Westlake – was also approved unanimously.

Mark Peters, LACC LLC site executive director, stated that this is a $33.5 million investment that will provide a new boiler on their site. “It supports primarily infrastructure on our site to make sure we are sustainable over time,” he said. “It also gives us the ability to grow in the future.”

He confirmed that the equipment would be brand new.

The ITEP request is for an 80 percent exemption over 10 years. CPSB will see approximately $844,795 in forgone local revenue.

One direct job with a salary of $60,000 and 402 construction jobs totaling $12,060,000 in payroll will be created.

The final ITEP was for Indorama Ventures Olefins for a $69,531,417 investment to “improve the reliability of the site and its ability to sustain operations in different weather conditions,” said David Hext, plant manager.

Indorama’s ITEP request was also for an 80 percent exemption over 10 years, resulting in $1,753,427 in forgone local revenue over a decade for CPSB.

Three direct jobs with a payroll of $150,000 and 55 construction jobs with $22,500,000 in payroll should be created.

Damon Hardesty, District 9, brought up Indorama’s ITEP from March 2020 that was recently revoked – Indorama did not meet the La. headcount requirement – stating, “We started this meeting out with an ITEP that failed to do what was required.”

Hext stated that they are currently in the process of hiring more employees.

The motion passed with a vote of 10-4. Hardesty, Phyllis Ayo, District 11, Tony O’Banion, District 10 and Rev. Desmond Wallace, District 14 voted in opposition.

Eric Tarver, District 8, was not present.