Roseville sets public hearing for ReNu Wireless tax abatement

By: Kevin Bunch | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published September 18, 2013


ROSEVILLE — The Roseville city council voted unanimously at its meeting Sept. 10 to set up a public hearing at its next regular meeting Sept. 24 to discuss the possibility of giving ReNu Wireless a tax abatement on equipment for its planned technology recycling facility.

If the council approves the current proposal, the request would go on for state approval. If the industrial facilities tax abatement, or IFT, meets the state’s requirements, the company would be exempted from up to half of local property taxes — city, county and schools — for 10 years, but only on the new investments spelled out in the agreement.

City Controller Robert Cady said the IFT proposal would help ReNu Wireless create 105 jobs and purchase approximately $366,000 worth of machinery and equipment. Under Michigan law, for the IFT to remain viable, the company must maintain the employment and development spelled out in the agreement.

He said that the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), an organization charged with bringing new business development to the state, had originally approached Roseville officials about having ReNu Wireless set up a recycling facility in the city.

“It’s not only an opportunity to enhance business in the city — it’s considered a green project because they recycle old cellphones and electronics,” Cady said. “I think what they do there is they take old electronics like cellphones, they deconstruct them, salvage them and resell them. So it’s really high on the state’s list of developments that it is interested in because it’s considered green technology.

“As far as the city’s concerned, we’re really lucky to get this because it’s one of the types of development we’re looking for, and my understanding is these jobs are fairly well-paying jobs.”

According to Colin Miller, talent specialist with Michigan Works, ReNu Wireless hopes to start operations within weeks, and has sought around five new technicians through Michigan Works.

“The company has told us their target date is the middle of this month,” Miller said. “This is just the initial team of people they are planning on hiring and starting up the business with. I believe their additional (employment) target is 40 to 50 people within their first year of operation.”

Cady does not believe the additional equipment will be moved in until after any IFT is approved by the state. He said if the company did not get its tax abatement approved, it would not have the tax incentive to offset the cost of bringing in the equipment.

ReNu Wireless declined to comment when contacted last week. The recycling facility will be located at 26500 Gratiot.