Dentsply Sirona gets a PILOT reporting extension | Business

Washington County’s Industrial Development Board voted Thursday to extend the deadline for Dentsply Sirona to file a performance report outlining how the global dental supply company is meeting its commitments under a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement with the county.

The industrial board agreed to move the company’s job creation reporting deadline for its plant at 608 Rolling Hills Drive to March 30. Board members had already voted in July to give Dentsply Sirona a 90-day extension for filing that report.

Chuck Mason, the board chairman, told his colleagues that extending the company’s reporting deadline for the payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement, or PILOT, would demonstrate a “true sense of community” to a company that has been negatively impacted by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“The company has had to lay off employees as a result of government orders,” Mason said.

He and others at the meeting also noted that most of the Johnson City employees furloughed by the company earlier this year have now returned to work.

Mason said members of the board of directors of the worldwide dental equipment and supply company believe the six-month extension will give it more time to better respond to shifting market conditions created by the pandemic.

In a second-quarter report released on Aug. 6, Dentsply Sirona announced it would be leaving portions of the dental market as part of an existing restructuring plan.

According to required notices filed with the Tennessee Department of Labor, Dentsply Sirona temporarily laid off 159 employees at its Rolling Hills Drive plant at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic: 107 on April 7 and 52 on May 4.

Marion Par-Weixlberger, a spokesperson for Dentsply Sirona, told the Press in August that most of the company’s 180 employees in Johnson City have returned to work.

The company signed a 15-year PILOT deal with Washington County in 2016, in which it agreed to retain at least 171 employees and invest at least $13.3 million in improvements at the facility by the end of the deal’s fifth year.

Washington County bought the company’s Johnson City property for $700,000, and allowed the business to operate at the site rent-free for the first three years of the deal.

Yearly payments will gradually increase to $120,000 in year 12. Overall, the company committed to pay a little more than $1 million in rent over the life of the agreement.

Rent payments under the deal are set to increase if the company fails to meet its minimum investment and job retention requirements.

In other business on Thursday, board members heard an update on efforts to find a new tenant for the 380,000-square-foot former Alo Tennessee Inc. building in the Washington County Industrial Park.

Alicia Summers, vice president of business development for the Northeast Tennessee Regional Economic Partnership, said an international manufacturing company that had placed the one-time Bush Hog plant in Telford on its short list of likely industrial locations has now “put the project on hold until after the first of the new year.”

Summers first informed the IDB of the company, which state and local economic officials identify as “Project Eagle,” at its meeting in July. The company has said it plans to create 200 new jobs — with an average salary of $46,000 — at a new location.

Meanwhile, Summers said a national firm continues to market the former Alo building at 115 Precision Boulevard. The property, which is now owned by a Chicago-based holding company, became available in December when the Sweden-based company officially closed its operations in the Telford industrial park.

Summers said three prospective companies toured the Alo site in August. One company was from the food-processing industry and the others were from the manufacturing and the distribution sectors.

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