Archive for Wednesday, June 24, 2009

County ponders tax incentives

A World War I doughboy statue stands outside the Leavenworth County Courthouse.

A World War I doughboy statue stands outside the Leavenworth County Courthouse.

June 24, 2009

Leavenworth County is looking for the right tax incentive policy to lure business to the county.

But it may be going to Kerr County in Texas to get some help.

On Thursday the Leavenworth County Commissioners once again discussed their draft of an economic development policy that the commissioners hope will give incentives for businesses and industry to come to the county. The current draft policy the board has been looking at was taken from Miami County’s tax incentives policy and modified to fit with the county.

Commissioner John Flower said he liked the Kerr County plan, which gave them more flexibility to give out tax incentives because it’s not solely based on capital investment in the county.

“I don’t want someone to come here to take an existing building and gives us two or three hundred jobs, not to give them incentives,” Flower said.

One of the key differences between the two policies is how they determine the amount of tax incentives given to a new business. In the county’s current draft form, the economic tax incentives are split in 10 different levels, which are divided into the amount of capital investment made and jobs created from the investment.

At level one, a company that is willing to make a capital investment of $100,000 to $200,000, as well as create five to 20 jobs, can be given a one-year exemption. At level 10, a maximum of 10 years can be given to a company investing $7 million to $9 million and creating 301 to 450 jobs.

The Kerr County plan is based off of a point system. A maximum of 30 points is awarded to a business based on its capital investment, as well as the workforce it creates and the wages it pays.

In addition to those two categories, Commissioner J.C. Tellefson said that he wanted to add a third category, which would give out points on desirability of a company to avoid having a business like an adult bookstore come into the county.

“That’s where we need to go,” he said. “That category can totally influence the total value of that thing so that if you need 700 points, but they only have two points, you can put 698 points on desirability if there is a business like Garmin that we want to locate out here.”

The commissioners want to have this economic tax incentive plan available so companies can look at what the county has to offer and decide if they want to move into the county or not. Additionally, the commissioners want to make available information compiled by Victoria Rowley, economic development coordinator for the Leavenworth County Development Corporation, about state tax programs that can also be offered to businesses.

Flower stated that the easier it is for a company to get information about a certain area, the easier it will be for it to decide on its location.

The commissioners directed Heather Morgan, county administrator, and Steve Jack, executive director of the LCDC, to continue working on the plan and continue creating a table with the available tax incentives.

Kerrville, the county seat of Kerr County, is about 65 miles northwest of San Antonio.

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