Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

February 16, 2017
One-policy approach to lure in new business presented to city

The Tooele County Economic Development Committee has a plan that hones incentives and establishes one policy for Tooele, Grantsville and the county to lure businesses to the area, according to an economic development official.

Randy Sant, economic development consultant for Tooele City, unveiled an overview of proposed incentives to the Tooele City Council and staff during a work session Wednesday. He said he plans to review it with the Grantsville City Council at a meeting in March. After Grantsville leaders hear the plan, it will be presented to the Tooele County School District,

“Tooele City has used some of these guidelines for years, but we wanted to put it all in writing to make sure everybody is on the same page,” Sant said. He indicated the best scenario would be that all public entities would adopt it by resolution.

“We feel like it is a good idea to go around and present this to each one of the cities so we’re all on the same page, and then it won’t matter where the company wants to locate,” Sant said. “Incentives would be the same.”

Issuance of incentives would be provided to projects that provide a public benefit, or will serve a public interest, according to the document presented by the consultant.

Public benefits may include providing strength to the county’s employment and economic base, quality jobs for residents, construction of needed infrastructure, supporting investment in human capital by providing skill development and continuing education, developing business relationships with existing Tooele County businesses, supporting public schools, and promoting higher education opportunities to increase the number of college and university graduates in the county.

“The most important thing is that our investments are post-performance investments,” Sant said. “That means the development has to be built and in place before the incentives are given. If we do any upfront funding, we would make sure our investment is secure.”

The county economic development committee also plans to continue to work with the Economic Development Corporation of Utah and the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

“We would tell companies that incentives are available, but we’re not going to commit until they provide us with all the information,” Sant said. “So there is a little bit of an application process. If we offer an incentive, the company will need to commit to stay here and work with us. If they close the door, we need to ensure we get our incentive back.”

Sant unveiled a matrix of potential tax increment incentive criteria with four tiers.

Tier 1 would be for companies that plan to invest $5-$9 million, create 20-35 jobs and pay 110 percent of the average wage in Tooele County. These companies would be eligible for 40 percent tax increment generated by the project for five years.

Tier 2 would be for companies that plan to invest $10-$15 million, create 36-50 jobs and pay 110 percent of the average wage. These companies would be eligible for 50 percent of available tax increment generated by the project for 10 years.

Tier 3 would be for companies that plan to invest $16-$35 million and pay 110 percent of the average wage. They would be eligible for 60 percent of tax increment generated by the project for 15 years.

Tier 4 would be for an investment of more than $35 million and more than 100 jobs hired in the first year of operation and no less that 100 percent of the county average wage. The tax increment would be negotiated, but in no event more than 75 percent tax increment for 25 years.

Councilman Steve Pruden said he liked the idea that most of the incentives would be non-negotiable, and would be adopted by resolution. Other council members expressed satisfaction with the updated incentive plan.

Instead of warehouse jobs, the county will seek more manufacturing and professional office jobs that provide individuals with 110 percent of current average wage. Sant said that means jobs that pay in the $36,000 to $42,000 range to keep county residents working in the county instead of commuting outside the county.

Mark Watson

Sports Editor at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Mark directs all editorial coverage of sports in addition to reporting on a wide range of events from high school football to international racing. He has a wealth of journalism experience, having worked for four other newspapers in the state. Mark grew up in Tooele County and graduated from Grantsville High School and Brigham Young University.

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