Updike votes against tax break

Published 10:10 am Tuesday, January 29, 2013

COURTLAND—Southampton County supervisors on Monday voted 5-1 to grant a tax break to a company building an asphalt and concrete plant in Ivor.

Newsoms District Supervisor Glenn Updike voted against the $150,000 discount on taxes over five years to AMAC Leasing.

“I cannot consider this at all because is it not in an industrial-approved area, and when they came before the planning commission and board (of supervisors), they did not request this tax-exempt status,” Updike said. “We had an agreement with them. I cannot see how we can approve this $150,000 decrease.”

Three supervisors said the board was well aware of offering AMAC a tax break for its $5 million development on Route 460 west of Sadler Road.

“From day one, he (Updike) knew for a fact that we would seek the incentive,” said Berlin-Ivor Supervisor Ronnie West.

“This is exactly the agreement we’ve been talking about from the first time we met with them,” added Franklin District Supervisor Barry Porter.

Porter said the county will collect $90,000 in taxes from AMAC during its first year in business at a cost of $30,000.

“It was discussed,” Capron District Supervisor Bruce Phillips added.

County officials in October rezoned 20 acres from agriculture to industrial for the plant. AMAC expects to create 26 jobs. Construction could begin during the first or second quarter of 2013 with operations beginning in the third quarter.

AMAC chose the property because it borders Route 460 and a Norfolk Southern rail-line. The company hopes to have stone shipped in by rail and plans to have a 1,700-foot spur built.

This proposed agreement with the county offers AMAC a 50 percent rebate on the machinery and tools taxes and a sliding scale rebate on the electric utility taxes, both for the first 5 years. The agreement also includes rebating all permit fees.

While the company expects to save a total of $150,000, the project is expected to generate $500,000 in tax revenue over the same time period.

After the initial 5 years, the project is expected to generate an average of $40,000 to $50,000 annually in tax revenues, assuming there is no additional investment.

Amanda Jarratt, president and chief executive officer for Franklin Southampton Economic Development Inc., said she began discussing tax incentives with supervisors in August.

“I go over details of every project with supervisors every month,” Jarratt said.

Porter noted that to renege now would have consequences.

“We have a bad reputation in the business community,” he said. “If we deny this, you can kiss it goodbye. If we don’t get businesses in here, you are going to double your real estate taxes in the next 10 years.”