FRISCO (CBSDFW.COM) - The controversial Exide Technologies battery recycling plant in Frisco will close by the end of the year in a tentative deal reached with the city, Mayor Maher Maso said Thursday. Under the proposed agreement, the plant would shut down operations by December 31, or as early as this October.
"We met with Exide to explore any options available to not get into litigation and from those talks we are here today," Maso said.
The city would pay $45 million to Exide for property surrounding the plant, while the company would still own the site where the plant sits. Under the deal Exide will tear the plant down and clean up the site, Maso said. Frisco does not know what it will do with the more than 100 acre property –– the City Council will have to vote on any future plans.
The battery recycling plant has been so controversial because it is one of only 16 in the U.S. that exceeds air quality standards for lead, which has proven to be harmful –– especially to children. Various community groups have formed in Frisco calling for the plant to shut down.
Exide spokeswoman Susan Jaramillo said the decision to close the plant down was not affected by the company's ongoing effort to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency's new standards for lead emissions.
"It was a matter of the city approaching us with what we felt was a fair value for our operations," she said. "We decided from a business sense to move forward with this."
The city was to begin the amortization process next month, a process that would legally shut down the plant. The proposed new deal would prevent that from happening.
Before the deal is done, it must be approved by Exide's board of directors, the Frisco City Council and two economic development boards in the city.
Under the deal, property taxes in Frisco would not increase.
More than 130 employees will be affected by the sale. Jaramillo says Exide will be working to help those workers find new jobs.
"That's our No. 1 priority, making sure that our employees are able to move forward with employment as we go forward with this sale," she said.
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