Commission awards tax breaks

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SANDPOINT — Bonner County commissioners cut four local business tax breaks on Tuesday in exchange for investing in capital improvement projects that will stimulate job growth in the area.

The tax exemptions amount to an estimated $23 million over the next five years. The tax breaks only apply to specific business improvements which add jobs their respective payrolls.

“It’s important to note that there’s a baseline that we start with, which is their current taxable rate before the improvement, and all we’re doing is laying off the improvement portion, not the baseline,” Commissioner Dan McDonald said.

The business receiving the tax exemptions include Idagon Construction, Mountain Metals, Ponderay Industrial Park and Sandpoint Properties.

Mountain Metals, an ornamental and structural manufacturing business in Ponderay, received a 75-percent tax break on its improvements, which includes a new production facility on Triangle Drive which is expected bring four new hires to the business. Idagon, meanwhile, built a new office and warehouse space in Sandpoint that will enable it to hire additional project managers and general laborers.

Ponderay Industrial Park and Sandpoint Properties, which also is located in Ponderay, received 50-percent exemptions on their respective improvements. Ponderay Industrial Park added a new medical facility on its existing campus, which is being used to draw new tenants and add up to 10 more jobs. Sandpoint Properties constructed a build-to-suit project for Dietrich Coffee Roasters, which will add as many as 12 additional jobs.

“We’re trying to help not only bring business to the area, we’re also trying to help sustain the businesses that are here and to try to make them flourish and add jobs,” commission Chairman Jeff Connolly said.

Connolly said smaller businesses were given the larger exemptions, while larger businesses were given smaller exemptions.

Idagon is receiving up to $2.6 million in tax breaks over the next five years, while Mountain Metals could receive up to $3.8 million. Sandpoint Properties and Ponderay Industrial Park could receive $8.4 million and $10.9 million in tax breaks over the next five years, respectively.

The exemptions are being awarded under contract, which means the exemptions can rescinded if the businesses don’t hold up their end of the deal to provide additional jobs.

“The reason it’s considered a contract is because we offer the tax exemption in exchange for the promise to provide economic benefit. If they fail to do that upon annual audit from the assessor’s office then we have the ability to claw back the value given,” Bonner County Deputy Prosecutor Bill Wilson, the board’s civil counsel, said during Tuesday’s meeting.

McDonald said the tax exemptions were worthy of the board’s support.

“It’s a good investment in the future,” McDonald said.

Keith Kinnaird can be reached by email at kkinnaird@bonnercountydailybee.com and follow him on Twitter @KeithDailyBee.

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