Special To The Gardner News
On March 24, Edgerton City Council approved resolutions and ordinances necessary to complete terms of agreement with Amazon.com, Inc. to establish occupancy of a new 826,000 square foot facility in KC Logistics Park.
The new Amazon facility will immediately provide 1,000 new jobs, and that number is expected to increase.
Beth Linn, city administrator, told the council, “A thousand is really their initial employment. They’re talking somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 employees as that facility continues to build out.”
Don Roberts, mayor, commented on social media rumor that implied all the jobs at the new facility would be minimum wage positions. He said that none of the jobs Amazon will offer are minimum wage jobs.
“They are bringing in all levels of Amazon to this facility, so it’s not just one job bracket, it’s all of them,” he said. Amazon is generally considered to be a good employer and offers an excellent benefit package.
One of those benefits, which Linn described for the council, is the ‘Amazon Career Choice Program.’ This program is available to Amazon associates after one continuous year of employment.
The program will prepay 95 percent of tuition and fees, and reimburse 95 percent of textbook costs for associates wishing to earn degrees in designated high demand fields.
According to the Amazon.com website, those fields are not restricted to education that would further a career at Amazon. The program is available to employees who want to earn degrees in areas such as aircraft mechanics, computer-aided design, machine tool technologies, medical lab technologies, nursing, and many other fields.
Amazon will be present at a job fair on May 4. People interested in employment at the new facility before then can also inquire through Kansas Works.
The economic gains the community receives from attracting the various new warehouse and distribution facilities to the area was illustrated by the mayor. He said the property Amazon will occupy was previously a farmstead that paid $400 annually in taxes. The same property will now generate about $200,000 a year, even with the tax abatement incentives in effect for the first ten years. After the abatement expires that figure will increase substantially.
The Amazon facility is the largest to be built at the Logistics Park to date, but that will soon be surpassed.
The council approved resolutions that will allow construction of three more building, one of which will be approximately 927,000 square feet. The others will be 760,000 and 653,000 square feet.
These projects require bonds to enable construction.
Concern was expressed about the possibility of the city becoming liable for debt, should the buildings fail to attract tenants, or if a tenant business were to fail.
An attorney present at the meeting said that would not happen. He said there are two types of bonds available for use in these projects – general revenue bonds and industrial revenue bonds.
With general revenue bonds, that would be a possibility, but with industrial revenue bonds it would not.
The resolutions under consideration by council would utilize industrial revenue bonds.
All resolutions and ordinances presented were approved unanimously by council.
Council also considered purchase of a corporate insurance policy. The one year policy covers all city property and liability, and included an option for coverage against acts of terrorism. Council voted 5-0 to approve the policy purchase with the option included.
New Staff Member
The city administrator introduced Trey Whitaker, who has been hired as Public Works Superintendent. Whitaker was previously employed as public works supervisor with the city of Mission.