Silverthorne approves $600,000 sales tax reimbursement agreement with Murdoch’s
Ryan Summerlin January 27, 2014
The Silverthorne Town Council approved the final piece of the Murdoch’s puzzle last week when it signed off on a sales tax reimbursement agreement worth up to $613,000 over the next eight years.
The agreement, permitted under the town’s Enhanced Sales Tax Incentive Program, was passed unanimously on Wednesday, Jan. 22, but not without at least some contention.
Although he voted in favor of the agreement, Councilmember Stuart Sanderson said he would prefer to see future sales tax incentive proposals aired in public to provide residents with an understanding of how the agreement would ultimately benefit the community.
Interim town manager Ryan Hyland said Sanderson’s comments refer to the history of the Enhanced Sales Tax Incentive Program, which was first approved in 2001 with the intention of attracting major sales tax generating businesses to Silverthorne.
Since that time, and prior to last week’s approval of the Murdoch’s agreement, the Silverthorne Town Council has only approved three Enhanced Sales Tax Incentive Program proposals, including one with Target in 2001 and another with Lowe’s Home Improvement in 2010.
Under the program’s original design, companies like Target and Lowe’s could apply for a reimbursement of a portion of the sales tax it generates over the course of an agreed-upon term to offset unforeseen infrastructure costs, such as architectural design changes, installing light posts, updating service roads or adding landscape features to meet the town’s community development guidelines.
In exchange for the agreement, companies must generate a certain amount of sales tax each month in order to qualify for its reimbursement, Hyland said. Companies also must be able to define how they’re coming to Silverthorne would benefit the public long term, such as by adding more jobs to the local economy.
Although the program was originally designed to attract big box stores, town officials later wanted to expand the program to smaller businesses. It did so in 2011 by lowering the sales tax threshold and by broadening the definition of what could be considered a public benefit.
The first business to take advantage of the new Enhanced Sales Tax Incentive Program was Which Wich in 2013.
In Murdoch’s case, the town council approved the sales tax reimbursement agreement because the home and ranch supplier wanted to move into the 40,000 square-foot space left vacant in October 2012 by Bighorn Ace. Murdoch’s officials also announced its intention to add 35 new jobs to the local economy.
In exchange for occupying a vacant store and adding jobs, the town council awarded the potential $613,000 in sales tax reimbursements to offset Murdoch’s costs of converting what was essentially an indoor lumber yard into a finished retail store, Hyland said, as well as upgrades to the parking lot and installation of monument-style signage that are more costly than Murdoch’s more typical “lollipop” signs.
“We see the arrangement as a win/win,” Hyland said. “We’re happy they’re moving into that space — we think it’s a good space for them — and we think they are the type of retailer that will be successful and stay in town for years to come.”
Rick Ungersma, president of Murdoch’s Ranch & Home Supply, said Monday the Silverthorne location is scheduled to open for business Friday, Jan. 31. The store, located at 1241 Blue River Parkway, will maintain the company’s normal operating hours of 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays.
A grand opening celebration will take place later this year at a time and date to be determined, Ungersma said.
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