Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Vineyard tries again for incentives to develop Geneva property

The town of Vineyard pressed its case for 35 years of tax breaks from Alpine School District on Tuesday afternoon. The attempt was the second from Vineyard, which is working with a major developer to tackle the former Geneva Steel property. In June, district officials were pressed to give away 40 years of property tax charges as incentive to developers. They hoped the new 35-year deal would garner more support.

For their part, developers and Vineyard officials said their analysis shows that if the district, among other entities, does not approve the tax breaks, the school district will take in $36 million over 35 years. But if approved, that sum will grow to $75 million. In approving the tax breaks, the district actually doubles their money, according to developers.

Some district officials were skeptical. In the past, Superintendent Vern Henshaw has said that if the district approves the tax break, "there would need to be a slight increase in the [property tax] rate."

Vineyard Mayor Randy Farnsworth told district elected officials that the future of his city depends on cooperation. "We can develop Geneva, or we can put a fence around it and leave it," he said. Without tax incentives, the property is "a big albatross. ... Sometimes we wonder if it was worth it, but it is what it is, and we have to make it work." Daily Herald