November 1, 2014

Council adopts new tax abatement policy

Danedri Thompson
dthompson@gardnernews.com
Sixty percent tax abatements may be a thing of the past in Gardner.
The city’s existing tax abatement policy, which set the normal abatement rate at 60 percent, is set to expire at the end of this year. No development activity occured under the current policy. However, city council members approved a new policy re-setting the abatement rate to 50 percent during a city council meeting on Dec. 3.
Laura Gourley, city finance director, told council members that most neighboring cities cap their abatements at 50 percent. She recommended that Gardner do the same.
However, she told council members that the new policy is flexible enough that the council can still offer abatements between 1 percent and 100 percent.
“This policy is written broadly,” she said.
The new policy also drives targeted industries to targeted areas. It encourages the expansion of existing businesses rather than only focusing on new businesses.
Primarily, Gourley said the abatement policy targets warehousing and retail and is comparable to policies of other cities in the area looking to attract the same sort of businesses.
Council member Larry Fotovich asked why the city wasn’t looking for office buildings or corporate headquarters.
“If we realistically look at where we are and compare ourselves to places like Olathe, it was a long time before they were able to attract Garmin,” Mayor Dave Drovetta said.
Before Garmin built its corporate headquarters in Olathe, the city attracted warehouses and logistics businesses like UPS and the J.C. Penney’s distribution center.
“From a statutory standpoint, we could appoint up to 100 percent abatement assuming Time Warner Cable wanted to put its corporate headquarters in Gardner,” Drovetta said.
Gourley said the abatement policy isn’t a hard and fast law, but it allows potential developers to know what to expect should they consider building in Gardner.
“A policy is a publication of your guidelines,” she explained. “…ultimately, state statutes drive what you can and can’t do.”

Comments

  1. Judith Rogers says:

    Gardner City Hall tells the world, and especially the thieves, they are ready to “Let’s Make a Deal” and have pretty much removed any or all barriers as to what the deal will be…………..sounds like Drovetta is ready to give away 100% of the tax revenue so needed by the taxpayers – just like he was ready to only give the citizens 15 cents on the dollar when dealing with the Allen Group and then he and his cronies denied the citizens their ability to VOTE on the issue……….elections and recalls do have consequences………..just wait until you get (and pay for) the so-called community development officer……..talk about shouting yourself in the foot………………every average citizen should know what their role is.

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