The Tyler City Council approved a three-year 100 percent tax abatement agreement Wednesday with a company already in Tyler — a move that could add between 12 to 15 new permanent jobs to the area.

In return, Hood Flexible Packaging, 2410 N. Lyndon Ave., would invest $12 million in equipment upgrades to the company's Tyler headquarters. The jobs, which will pay from $17.75 to $18.10 an hour, would add about $700,000 to Hood's payroll, City Planner Heather Nick told council members at the meeting.

Because Tyler is in competition with a plant in Calgary, Alberta to get the extra business, it may be a few weeks before city officials know if Tyler is selected, Gulam Harji, general manager at Hood, told council members.

"Seventy percent of the (company) business is here in Tyler and 30 percent of it is in Canada," Harji said. He said that council must approve the tax abatement agreement for Tyler to be able to compete with the Canadian location.

"Tax abatement is a way of encouraging companies to reinvest in a community," Tom Mullins, president and chief executive officer of the Tyler Economic Development Council, said Monday. Mullins is also the president and CEO of the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce.

In return for the company's $12 million equipment upgrade to Hood Packaging's Tyler operations and the additional jobs, the company will not pay city taxes for three years, Mullins said. For a company to qualify for tax abatement, it must meet a least one of three requirements: it must invest at least $1 million in new equipment or a new plat, add at least 25 new permanent jobs and increase payroll by at least $400,000 or more, he said. Hood qualified on two of those three requirements, Mullins said.

Hood is a manufacturer and supplier of heavy-duty plastic shipping sacks with headquarters in Hattiesburg, Miss. Its major customers include Dow Chemical and ExxonMobil, according to information from the city.

In other news, the Tyler Police Department became the first police department in the nation to receive the Platinum Award, the American Heart Association's highest award for corporate wellness programs.

The police department has demonstrated that employees are offered physical activity support and that a culture of wellness is promoted. The department has increased the number of healthy eating options available at the worksite along with a state of the art work out facility.

"Detective John Ragland has been instrumental in helping the police department adopt the spirit of this initiative and in trying to improve the health and wellness of our employees," Police Chief Gary Swindle said after the presentation.


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