Springfield extends enterprise zone for 10 years.
SPRINGFIELD - Businesses seeking to expand and new businesses looking to open can continue to apply for tax breaks in Springfield after city councilors voted Monday to extend the city's enterprise zone for another 10 years.
Enterprise zones - a program overseen by the state's business development department - allow cities to offer three to five years of property tax relief as a way of encouraging both development and reinvestment. In exchange for locating or expanding in an enterprise zone, businesses receive a total exemption from the property taxes normally assessed on new plants and equipment for three to five years.
Springfield has been offering the tax breaks for 20 years, said community development manager John Tamulonis, who oversees the program.
Back in 2005, for example, Franz Family Bakery - formerly Williams Bakery - moved to Springfield after the University of Oregon bought the bakery's Franklin Boulevard site in order to build a new basketball arena.
The bakery, which had a 100-year history, relocated to the Glenwood area of Springfield, attracted by the enterprise zone that helped them keep their relocation costs down, Tamulonis said.
In return for the five-year break in taxes, the city gets a business with a consistent history and a record of paying good wages, Tamulonis said.
"We have a long-term tenant on an industrial site, high wages and a long-term taxpayer, if the last 100 years is any indicator," he said.
The enterprise zone also benefits existing businesses that want to expand. Longtime employer Weyerhaeuser got the tax break when it built a new plant that combined recycled cardboard with new fiber to create liner board, used in the top and bottom pieces of cardboard boxes. International Paper now owns the plant, Tamulonis said.
The new enterprise zone is slightly different than the old one, which included land in the city's urban growth boundary. Now the zone stops at the city limits, because Lane County is no longer a co-sponsor of the zone as it was in the past.
The change means tax break applications won't have to also be approved by Lane County commissioners.
The boundary inc-ludes an area of 11.44 square miles. Just a few residential areas of the city - Thurston, and a small area between 28th and about 48th streets south of Main Street, and a few islands of annexed land north of west-central Springfield - are excluded from the zone.
If the state approves the new zone - it has a limit of 59 with 47 currently designated - and a business wants a tax break to develop outside the city limits but within the urban growth boundary, the property would need to be annexed into the city, and the state would need to approve the new enterprise zone boundary, Tamulonis said.
Retail businesses, hotels, motels and convention centers are not eligible.
Councilors voted unanimously to continue the program.
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|Title Annotation:||City/Region; The program offers tax breaks to new businesses and current operations that are looking to expand|
|Publication:||The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)|
|Date:||Mar 30, 2010|
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