GATESVILLE — Coryell County commissioners on Monday approved a nine-year property tax abatement for a $1.82 million expansion and $650,000 in new equipment at the Laerdal Medical Corporation plant at 226 Farm-to-Market 116.
The unanimous vote approving the abatement came after commissioners voted to renew the county tax abatement policy, which was adopted in 2009 and expired after two years.
The county’s action tracks with a tax abatement for Laerdal adopted by the city of Gatesville, which designated the plant property as a reinvestment zone. Both governments use tax abatement to encourage economic growth.
County Judge John Firth said the tax abatement is an incentive for the company to keep the plant and about 200 jobs in Gatesville.
Under the county policy, the company’s property taxes will be abated on a graduated schedule over nine years — starting at 90 percent in 2015 and incrementally reduced to 10 percent by 2023.
In 2000, Norway-based Laerdal merged with Medical Plastics Laboratory, a 50-year-old local company with a production plant in Gatesville.
The plant’s employees make high-tech mannequins for medical training.The plant expansion/renovation will include replacing old structures with new construction, said Ramon Sosa, manufacturing director for the company’s plants in Gatesville and Monterey, Mexico.
The team at the Gatesville plant assembles about 20 variations of sophisticated mannequins used for medical and first aid training by hospitals, the military and the Red Cross.
The Gatesville plant also provides research and development, tooling design and rapid prototyping of new products.
Some of the mannequins contain sophisticated electronics allowing users to use computer software to customize scenarios to meet an assortment of training needs.