The first signs of compromise on the proposed zinc plant near Clymers became official Wednesday morning.
The Cass County Redevelopment Commission passed a resolution with six environmental aspects and three financial conditions that could change the Waelz Sustainable Products (WSP) zinc reclamation plant, planned for the Cass County Agribusiness Park.
The commission previously had approved two bond issues for the project, one being a Tax Increment Financing bond for $23 million that would make infrastructure improvements to the area that increased property taxes from the development would pay off.
The other was a conduit revenue bond for up to $70 million, which would allow WSP to borrow that money for building the plant but at a lower interest rate by using Cass County’s borrowing power.
The county would not be responsible for paying off the bonds.
On Aug. 21, the Cass County Council, which has the final approval on the two bonds, tabled its vote and sent them back to the redevelopment commission for renegotiations.
The council also stipulated that the Cass County Citizens Coalition (CCCC) should be part of those renegotiations.
There had been one meeting for negotiations about two weeks ago, but the CCCC members and attorney John Schwarz said they were only told about the meeting about 24 hours in advance, not time for people to get free of obligations.
County Councilman David Redweik, District 1, said he was supposed to be part of the negotiations but had only heard about the meeting the day before and had a prior obligation in Indianapolis.
The people in the audience who are part of the opposition were surprised by the resolution and the redevelopment commission passing it.
Schwarz said there’d also been surprise at the negotiations meeting, because the CCCC side wasn’t planning to negotiate but to get more information and to visit the WSP sister plant in Millport, Alabama, first.
Schwarz had said at Sunday’s CCCC forum that negotiating without seeing the plant would be like trying to buy a used car without first driving it.
He also called the resolution a promising start.
The Cass County Council is scheduled to meet at 9 a.m. Friday and address the bond issues again.
The Pharos-Tribune will have more on the matter, including a list of the measures on the resolution, in Thursday’s paper.