Bay County commissioners have granted Eastern Shipbuilding an ad valorem tax exemption to buy some new equipment. Company management is buying equipment that will help create dozens of new jobs in the area, however neighbors to the Allanton business were opposed to the decision.
Eastern Shipbuilding is one of the fastest growing companies in Bay County with pending contracts for as many as 20 new ships. Company officials want to buy more than $7.5 million in new machinery to meet construction demands.
Owner Brian D'Isernia says the equipment will lead to at least 100 new jobs, so he asked for an economic incentive tax break.
"The study that I reviewed in the packet, financial consultants say that for every 10 jobs created within the company Eastern Marine creates another 7.6 jobs out in the general economy. So I think that's a good sign," said Bay County commissioner Guy Tunnell.
Neighbors of Eastern's Allanton shipyard spoke against the tax break, saying the business creates noise, traffic, and trash.
"It is a problem and I can say anybody that's on the stage up there, if you lived out there, something would be done one way or another," said Ed Blockinger.
"He's in the business to make a profit. He knows that if he expands that business he's gonna make more profit now he wants us as taxpayers to add to that profit," said Carl Bruncesfield. :Baloney! I don't agree with that."
However, commissioners told the neighbors they need to file complaints with the county law and code enforcement and granted D'Isernia's request.
"By the rules of what the people of Bay county voted to give these tax breaks for certain amount of employees he met them, he met every obligation, and he was entitled to it and that was our job to do," said Bay County commissioner Mike Thomas.
Eastern Shipbuilding plans to purchase heavy industrial equipment such as welding machines, cranes, and air compressors.