City drafts economic development incentives

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The Cortez City Council moved forward with a resolution to provide economic development incentives by authorizing the partial rebates of sales tax revenues, use of tax and building permit fees and other incentives in the “We’re in this together” economic development program.

The resolution states that the intent of the “we’re in this together” program is to establish policy guiding the use of economic incentives to encourage business retention and attraction in the city to preserve jobs, encourage new businesses and employment opportunities, all which will enhance the city’s tax base.

There are four different sections in the program that the council approved in a resolution back in October.

The first section focused on the city manager working with the city planner and the Planning and Zoning Commission on the developmental code to ensure an expedited developmental review where possible.

The second section reaffirmed the city’s position on its local vendor policy with a 2 percent incentive policy meaning the city is allowed to spend 2 percent more on a certain item if purchased locally like a police car or construction project. On projects of $50,000 to $250,000, the threshold would be 1 percent, and no preference would be given on purchasing local products in excess of $250,000.

In addition, the local preference cannot exceed $2,500.

The third section provides a sales tax rebate on businesses with 10,000 square feet or less.

Businesses that see a growth of 3 percent or more in any of the next three years will receive a 10 percent rebate of the increase, and they are eligible each of the three years.

City Manager Shane Hale said that rebate amounts local businesses would receive could be substantial, and added that this is aimed at helping the smaller local businesses.

The fourth section focuses on abating 50 percent of the building permit fees and use taxes on new construction or remodels for all business building permits through Dec. 31, 2014.

To qualify, city staff will utilize different criteria to determine whether the building is an actual business, which includes determining if the property is assessed as a commercial structure by the county assessor and whether or not the applicant remits sales tax to the city or has a sales tax license or whether this will be the case once construction is complete.

Hale said all four of the sections had been discussed by council in work sessions, and the items that were preferred were put into the resolution.

The city manager also said the resolution was also meant for this council to reaffirm the city’s support of the “We’re in this together” program.