Mishawaka revokes tax break for pet food company after alleged smell issue

Published: May. 9, 2023 at 7:02 PM EDT
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MISHAWAKA, Ind. (WNDU) - A deal is a deal... unless it’s undone.

A deal between the city of Mishawaka and a valued corporate citizen is no more.

It’s a deal that dates back to late 2021 when the city granted tax abatement to Wellness Pet Company. Wellness Pet Company manufactures pet food on the city’s south side.

This week the Mishawaka Common Council voted unanimously to take the tax breaks back.

They were designed to help expand the plant and to install odor abatement equipment.

In the past two years, only a fraction of the improvements promised have happened.

“With regard to the real estate, they really have only made three percent of the investment that they anticipated making, although we’re a couple of years into this process,” Mishawaka Common Council President Gregg Hixenbaugh told 16 News Now. “And on the personal property or equipment side, they’ve only made around 20% of the investment.”

Hixenbaugh added that Wellness Pet was unable to say when the investment in the Mishawaka facility would be made. “That in and of itself, to me, and I believe to others, justifies the act that we took as a council to rescind this tax abatement.”

Wellness Pet reports that it did install about $6 million in new odor abatement equipment at the plant. The installation was completed in March, and the system was still being tweaked.

“That expansion of the production lines has not taken place, and what was of particular concern to me and others is that, although they encountered some cost shifts and some supply chain issues during and after the pandemic, they also made a corporate decision not in Mishawaka, but in Boston and points elsewhere to expand their operation in another location not in Mishawaka,” Hixenbaugh said.