ExxonMobil has failed to meet the terms of its tax abatement agreement and may have to pay about $4 million to Montgomery County unless it can step up to compliance within 30 days, county commissioners said March 23. The company has indicated it would rather opt for the former, county officials said.

In 2013, Montgomery County Commissioners Court and The Woodlands Township board of directors each approved two 10-year 100% tax abatements to ExxonMobil for one and a half office buildings and an 11-story parking garage in the Hughes Landing development in The Woodlands.

As part of the agreement, the company was required to meet various job creation requirements, the most recent being to have 470 employees at the buildings as of the January reporting period. However, ExxonMobil reported an average minimum of 284 employees and an average maximum of 438, Montgomery County Tax Assessor-Collector Tammy McRae said. Building A is in compliance, but Building B is not, she said.

Precinct 2 Commissioner James Noack said officials had spoken with ExxonMobil regarding the employment requirements, and the company was aware they were out of compliance.

“They knew that they were going to have fewer people in building B than they should have had,” Noack said. “I told them that my recommendation to court was going to be to put them in default, and they would have 30 days to cure; they responded to me that their business division would more likely just rather default than have to go through the process of hiring more people.”

Commissioners said the 30-day notice was “generous,” but McRae said companies are statutorily required to receive such a notice.

If the company does not meet the tax abatement requirements within 30 days, it will owe about $3.9 million total to Montgomery County, The Woodlands Township and The Woodlands Road Utility District as well as some money to another municipal utility district, McRae said. McRae said she did not calculate the cost of what was it owed to the MUD because it does not fall within her jurisdiction.

McRae said in her conversations with the company, they did not discuss why the employment numbers were low, and ExxonMobil officials were not present at the March 23 meeting.

A Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification notice that ExxonMobil would lay off a total of 45 employees at the Hughes Landing facility in Montgomery County was posted on the Texas Workforce Commission website Dec. 2.