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Tax abatement agreement with StarTek property owners being terminated

By DAVID TEWES
Oct. 21, 2010 at 5:21 a.m.


HOW AGREEMENT WORKSThe tax abatement agreement with the owners of the StarTek property was executed in December 2007

The owners paid the full tax bill for 2008

The city and county are terminating the agreement, leaving the owners responsible for 2009 taxes on 90 percent of the $3.94 million in taxable property

A property tax abatement agreement with the owners of the former StarTek property in Victoria is being terminated and taxes will be due.

"I have been in communication with StarTek and I can tell you they have been outstanding corporate citizens," City Attorney Thomas Gwosdz said. "They recognized that when they closed their facility, they would be losing their tax abatement."

StarTek operated a call center from the former Albertsons building at 1309 E. Red River St. The company renovated the building and employed as many as 269 people.

The tax abatement agreement was executed in December 2007 by the city and the county. The city council has given the city manager authority to execute documents to end the agreement.

Gwosdz said the contract provides that if the city or county terminate it, the agreement is ended for both governmental entities automatically.

He said the owners paid the full tax bill for 2008 and then got an abatement on 90 percent of the taxable property in 2009 before StarTek closed in January.

A call to StarTek's corporate headquarters was not returned.

Chief Appraiser John Haliburton, with the Victoria Central Appraisal District, said the value of the abated property is $3.94 million. He said he will forward the appraised value to Rena Scherer, the county tax-assessor collector, and she will figure the amount of tax due.

While he said he's expecting no trouble getting the taxes due, Gwosdz said the picture is clouded because the tax agreement is with the "owner." The contract lists three companies as the owner: StarTek, Dolphin Associates and Whisper Capital.

"But this is not an issue where we have somebody sneaking out of town trying to skip on their tax abatement," Gwosdz said. "They are going to do, I believe, what they said they are going to do."

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