Amazon tax abatement moves forward, but still needs to be finalized

NOW: Amazon tax abatement moves forward, but still needs to be finalized

SAINT JOESPH COUNTY, Ind. -- The Saint Joseph County Council met tonight to vote on moving forward tax abatements for Amazon's 11-billion-dollar data center.

Tonight's vote focused on approving pieces of the 50-year abatement that is expected to be finalized in July. 

The County says that Amazon is already working to fill the one thousand jobs that are expected to be added, with one way being reaching out to local community colleges, and with Amazon themselves providing 400 of these expected employees. 

But this project is expected by many to attract the attention of many Hoosiers already living in the area, which would be helpful with the housing demand. 

"We really think there'll be a mix of people that will, will just change jobs or upgrade their job situation so that they won't need new housing," says Bill Schalliol the economic development director of Saint Joseph County.  "And then we are working with home builders, we've got a housing study that finishes up here in the next couple of weeks, to really help us understand what the housing market looks like and what our needs are for to support this project, the GM project and other projects."

One criticism from the public though has been the secrecy around the project leading up to Amazon's announcement. 

ABC57's NightTeam was told that secrecy was a requirement for their negotiations and to avoid promising the public a development that wasn't guaranteed. 

"Right now, there's all sorts of conversation about workforce development and there's conversations between AWS and the chamber as far as putting together workforce development plans. I know, groups like Ivy Tech and others will be engaged as we move further down the process.," states Schalliol. 

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