Hopkins County Commissioners Monday agreed to a proposal from Sulphur Springs-Hopkins County Economic Development Corporation to move away from tax abatement programs to tax rebate programs
The program still allows the county go grant tax incentives for businesses, especially new businesses investing in a Hopkins County location. However, instead of the business getting the abatement up front. The business would be required to pay their full taxes, but at the end of period would be given a rebate on taxes up to the agreed upon amount, provided all of the terms for the incentive are met. Then, the amount rebated would be reduced on a step scale annually, EDC Executive Director Roger Feagley explained to commissioners during their court session Monday morning.
This would hold businesses granted incentives to the terms of their agreement. They would be required to submit the documentation showing the required information in a timely manner, ensuring all terms are met, in order to receive a rebate. If the information is not received when requested or terms aren’t met the business would not be eligible for the rebate, under the terms of the program.
“I think this is a good idea. It prepares them to pay taxes,” Bartley said.
Bartley said the program would give the EDC more control of the situation if a business granted a tax break failed to provide the necessary information showing the terms of the incentive have been met.
The motion, made by Bartley and seconded by Precinct 1 Commissioner Mickey Barker, passed unanimously to move to a tax rebate program.
In other business Monday, the court approved a service contract agreement with People’s that will save Hopkins County Regional Civic Center $440 a month on phone, WiFi and Internet services.
Civic Center Manager Lonnie Fox told the court that he contact company representatives regarding the contract. The facility had been paying about $1,200 a month to Peoples, part of a three-year contract. He was told of a new program that would provide the same service for $845 a month. Fox said had they not contacted the company they would not have been aware of the program and lower rate, and recommended the county accept the contract at the lower rate.
Commissioners gave unanimous approval to the agreement on a motion made by Precinct 2 Commissioner Greg Anglin and seconded by Precinct 4 Commissioner Joe Price.