Microwave maker seeks Cedar Rapids tax exemption for expansion

Company seeks to add 14 new positions to operation

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A Cedar Rapids manufacturer of industrial microwaves is seeking a 10-year partial tax exemption to assist with a physical expansion that will create 14 new jobs and retain 45 existing positions.

AMTek Microwaves, 4115 Thomas Dr. SW, has asked the Cedar Rapids City Council to approve an Urban Revitalization Tax Exemption for the 15,000-square-foot addition to its plant. AMTek, established as a spin-off of Amana Microwaves, estimated the project's cost at $600,000.

The exemption would be applied only to the increased property valuation from the building addition. The city projects the project would generate an additional $165,000 in collected tax revenue over a 10-year period and provide AMTek $130,000 in deferred taxes.

Each of the 14 new AMTek jobs is expected to pay an average $16 per hour, or $33,280 annually.

The Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance assisted AMTek in developing its request for the Urban Revitalization Tax Exemption. Dennis Jordan, economic development strategist for the Economic Alliance, said supporting advanced manufacturing companies like AMTek was done through the former Priority One organization and continues with the Economic Alliance.

Tim Scheurs, president and chief executive officer of AMTek, said he appreciates the support of the Economic Alliance.

"Economic Alliance staff helped us through each step of putting together this request," Scheurs said. “Their work showed me their commitment to companies in the region."

Five of AmTek's founders are former employees of Maytag's Amana microwave unit, who lost their jobs in January 2003 when Maytag sold its industrial microwave operations to the Ferrite  Corp. of Hudson, N.H. Ferrite decided it had no need for the manufacturing capacity in Iowa, and most of the staff were laid off.

AMTek provides industrial microwave processing equipment and systems for customers around the world. The company has distributors throughout South America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

Dave DeWitte of The Gazette contributed to this story.

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