The Metro Council is taking up an estimated $8.6M tax break for ExxonMobil

The ExxonMobil Baton Rouge chemical plant is part of the petrochemical complex. (File photo)

The East Baton Rouge Metro Council later this month will consider granting a property tax exemption to ExxonMobil estimated to be worth about $8.6 million over 10 years. 

The state Board of Commerce and Industry already has approved the Industrial Tax Exemption Program request for a potential $74.6 million project that would involve processing plastics that are difficult to recycle, which the company claims could attract new businesses to Baton Rouge. 

“If ExxonMobil were to build a new advanced recycling facility in our area, it would allow for more collaborations with businesses that want to recycle their plastic waste, diverting the waste from landfills, and providing an alternative to fossil-based feedstocks, such as crude oil,” the company says.

A final investment decision was expected by late this year or early next year, Dave Oldreive, ExxonMobil’s Baton Rouge former refinery manager, said in March during a Business Report webcast. He said a company in California specializing in artificial turf is considering opening a location in north Baton Rouge if the advanced recycling facility moves forward. 

The proposal, which also includes improvements to produce isopropyl alcohol used in advanced microchips, is set to be introduced at the council today ahead of a vote in two weeks. The total investment is $155 million, but only $74.6 million is eligible for ITEP, notes Stephanie Cargile with ExxonMobil. 

Once the state board grants an ITEP exemption, local authorities have up to 60 days to object before the request is deemed approved. 

Also on today’s agenda:

  • Acceptance of the $17.6 million price tag for the River Center Theatre for Performing Arts improvements, which is about $1.8 million higher than the initial low bid for the completed project. 
  • An update about a lawsuit that alleges the Metro Council illegally restricted the speech of activists who in 2017 were speaking out about the killing of Alton Sterling by Baton Rouge police. The item, deferred from last month, could be discussed in a closed-door executive session. 
  • A proposal to set aside more than $3 million in settlement dollars to create an Opioid Abatement Fund. 

The meeting is set for 4 p.m. today at City Hall.