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Jefferson County says no to Lowe's

December 12, 2003|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - County officials have decided not to give Lowe's Home Centers a grant or tax breaks to help the company build a new store in Jefferson County.

Last week, a Lowe's spokesman asked the Jefferson County Commission to consider giving the company a $500,000 grant or $1 million in tax breaks to help it build the store.

Arnold Arrowood, a private site consultant for Lowe's, said Jefferson County will benefit greatly from a Lowe's. Not only will the store create 175 jobs and an annual payroll of $3.6 million, it will attract other businesses that will want to locate around it, including restaurants, Arrowood said.

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Commissioners expressed concern about the proposal and said the county does not do anything like that for locally-owned businesses.

During their regular meeting Thursday, the commission approved a motion by Commissioner Greg Corliss to deny the grant or the tax breaks.

When Corliss made his motion, he made reference to a letter the Jefferson County Development Authority wrote about the proposal.

Development authority officials said in their letter that they also had voted against any tax breaks or a grant for Lowe's.

"I don't need the development authority letter to come to that conclusion," Commissioner Rusty Morgan said.

Morgan said last week that he thought the county was going to get a Lowe's despite any financial assistance.

Lowe's is negotiating for a piece of land near Wal-Mart along U.S. 340 on which to build a store, Arrowood said. The company usually needs between 10 and 15 acres for a store, Arrowood said.

The tax break Lowe's wanted is called tax increment financing. Under the proposal, a certain amount of taxes Lowe's would have to pay after the building is built would be kept by the company.

Lowe's was asking that it receive $100,000 per year for 10 years, Arrowood said.

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