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Council eyes tax breaks for businesses

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By LPR Staff
Editor/POST-REGISTER

The City of Lockhart has begun a review of current tax abatement policies, in keeping with the requirements of the Texas Tax Code.
Every two years, municipalities must review and analyze the tax breaks they offer to businesses as a means of encouraging businesses to relocate. Economic Development Director Sandra Mauldin

presented the first stage of the review to the city council during their regular meeting on Tuesday evening.
“If there is opposition to the tax abatement, it is usually because the abatement is misunderstood,” Mauldin said. “It is an offset of the taxes to reduce initial investments for new businesses, but they come back and pick up the taxes later.”
The current policy allows for tax abatements for new businesses, focusing on those that are located in new, modernized or expanded buildings. Although the City of Lockhart has not received any applications for tax abatements in the last two years, Mauldin said a number of prospect companies have asked if abatement policies are in place.
“I think the policy is well-written,” said city attorney Peter Gruning. “I think it”s an attraction to businesses that want to come in and work here. The checks and balances are such that the city can really follow closely with the abatement and whether or not [recipients] continue to qualify.”
The current abatement policy will be discussed with the public at length during a public hearing on April 19 during the regular city council meeting. The tax abatement application and scoring process will also be discussed during the hearing.
City manager Clovia English encouraged the council to attend a meeting to be held on Thursday, April 7 at 6:30 p.m. with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).
TkDOT is holding a series of public meetings to discuss planned improvements to Highway 183, including an overpass of the Union Pacific railroad tracks in Lockhart. The meeting will be held in the Glosserman Room of Lockhart City Hall.
In brief council news:
Mayor Pro Tem Frank Estrada read a proclamation declaring April “Fair Housing Month.”
The City of Lockhart will lease a color copier for use at the Dr. Eugene Clark Library.
The council chose to participate in a series of meetings with the other taxing entities to discuss the contract between the Caldwell County Appraisal District and the various taxing entities with respect to the collection of past-due taxes.
The council adjourned to executive session to discuss the possible purchase of property and a prospective business venture.
Kathibliss@post-register.com

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