By Elsa Maxey
There’s a business in Stafford operating eight plants worldwide with the largest one located in the city. It’s a valve relief company planning on expanding its operations and adding staff. This is the company, right here in Fort Bend County, that built several relief valve applications for British Petroleum to help with pumping oil last summer into a platform 22 miles away, oil that was going into the Gulf Coast. When Tyco was asked for help, Plant Manager John Ward said they dropped everything, and in three to four weeks they engineered and tested a solution for the mile deep underwater working values.
This company with expert capabilities is considered a global market leader that makes pressure and management products, and it has just received the nod from the Stafford City Council for a new Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) to be created in their city. TIRZ 21 is accompanied by an abatement agreement between Tyco Valves & Controls LP and Fort Bend County for operating on about 11.7 acres where the valve relief company currently operates on Greenbriar and plans to expand.
Jack Belt, Vice President Development & Marketing of Greater Fort Bend Economic Development Council addressed city council last week along with Ward. Ward said the operating plant plans to maintain 402 jobs at their location and create 30 new full time jobs. There will be building expansion, which will cost $8.4 million. This will bring a total capital investment of over $16 million to the city and the county, which Ward said has involved over 10 years of planning. Belt said the company plans to accommodate growth and development at the Stafford location and the abatement and TIRZ will help further incentivize the effort.
The TIRZ authorized by the city means that the improvements in that city’s zone will be of benefit to the geographic area even after a 5-year tax abatement agreement expires with Fort Bend County. There is no tax abatement agreement with the City of Stafford since it does not have a property tax. Fort Bend County, on the other hand, will abate the property at 75 percent, according to Stafford City Attorney Art Purtle, who said that any development or redevelopment in that zone must comply with city zoning ordinances.
Other taxing abatements were said to be considered with taxing districts such as the Fort Bend County WCID No. 2, but a Tyco representative said that the amounts were so low with respect to savings to the company, that they did not justify the additional effort.
“In today’s economy not a lot of people are moving forward with manufacturing plant expansions,” said Mayor Leonard Scarcella noting that the project, called the Hercules Project, goes beyond that, “especially in this day and time and under these circumstances.”
Thirty-six percent of Tyco’s work involves the oil and gas industry, process industries involves another 36 percent, and about 27 percent is power and mining.
Tyco started as an Anderson Greenwood facility in 1990. It is the fourth largest employer in Stafford operating as a $145 million revenue facility at a 200,000 sq ft site with a $20 million dollar payroll where safety and relief devices are made in accordance with international code standards in a highly regulated global industry.