Attorney Bill Weathington brought the agreement to the commission, along with Don Smith, executive director of the St. Clair County Economic Development Council. The commission will likely set a public hearing for April 12 regarding the agreement, and will vote on the it after that.
According to Weathington, Town and Country, which took over Pell City Ford in December 2009, has a mandate from its corporate office to upgrade its facility, either by renovating its current location on U.S. 231 or by building a new facility at a new location. According to the agreement, St. Clair County and Pell City will offer a sales tax rebate for the new facility.
The specifics of the rebate are: For net taxable sales over $5 million, the city and the county will rebate half the tax revenues to the business for a period of 10 years after a new or renovated facility becomes operational. Smith said that $5 million represents the average business at the location the last three years, and business is already improving since Town and Country took over.
“This is their (Town and Country’s) time where they have to make a decision: either invest in Pell City or abandon this territory and just focus on their Bessemer location,” Smith said. “Since they came in, I would say — I can’t give away their exact numbers because that information is private — but I would say it’s safe to say that they’ve greatly improved their sales.
“To come in and have something similar at the entrance of Pell City coming off the interstate as opposed to what they have right now I think is really worthwhile. And their plans are to triple, maybe quadruple, what was done there previously.”
Commissioner Ken Crowe noted that the agreement is low-risk for the county.
“If sales stay the same, and (Town and Country) doesn’t have an increase, then it’s not going to affect what we have been getting,” Crowe said. “Our rate’s not going to change as long as his sales are less than $5 million. The projected growth is what we’re giving a half-a-percent up.
“In essence, it’s not costing our budget any now, that we would normally receive.”
Pell City is considering a similar agreement for municipal sales tax. Weathington reiterated the agreement, if approved, would not take effect until a new or renovated facility is operational.
“Assuming they double their sales, we’re right now getting tax money on that,” Commissioner Jeff Brown said. “This won’t go into effect until the agreement.”
All the commissioners were in agreement with the rebate.
“Bottom-line, there’s no liability for St. Clair County,” Commissioner Paul Manning said. “We’re not giving away anything.
“We’re not rebating anything that we have been getting. This would be additional.”
Contact Will Heath at email@example.com.