Mears Fertilizer is considering a $13 million expansion project the company's facility located on N. Industrial Road in the West Industrial Park of El Dorado. The proposed  project will include the purchase of land, machinery, equipment and building expansion. It will also include the hiring of at least 15 new employees over the next 10 years.

David Alfaro, Director of Butler County Community Development, appeared before the Board of County Commissioners on Dec.  31 for a work session to discuss possible funding mechanisms for the expansion of Mears Fertilizer.

Alfaro and his office have been working with the City of El Dorado, El Dorado Inc., Commerce Bank and Mears Fertilizer on the expansion of the Mears facility.

As a part of the project, the parties have discussed two possible ways of financing the project. They include the issuance of Industrial Revenue Bonds (IRB) and/or a conventional bank loan with the County taking the lead on the IRB process as requested by the City of El Dorado. If the County were to issue IRB’s it would provide Mears with an allowable 10-year tax exemption. If they choose to go with conventional financing, a request for an Economic Development Tax Exemption would be applied for through the State of Kansas. Both provisions allow for an exemption period not to exceed 10 years. Butler County will not be required to utilize any tax dollars supporting the request as all expenses associated with the issuance of the IRB's will be paid for by Mears.

“These types of incentives are used all across the state and this project definitely qualifies for a Tax Exemption,” Alfaro said.

A Cost-Benefit Analysis was performed by Wichita State University and shows that the number of new employees created as part of the project and the amount of capital expended justifies the passing of the resolution supporting the request by Mears Fertilizer.

Alfaro requested the Commission to set a date for a public hearing to be 10 a.m. Ja. 14. It was approved.

Mears Fertilizer Inc. was founded in 1966 by Galen Mears in El Dorado, and it has been operated as a family-owned business. The company has expanded multiple times. Founded as a retail company, in less than a decade the company completed the construction of its first portable liquid poly-phosphate processing unit for limited on-site processing for customers in three states. A second unit was added in 1978. The company now serves customers in 30 states and producing 300 to 400 thousand tons of finished product each year.

Mears produces agricultural fertilizer, turf fertilizer, ice melt and de-icers.