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County looks into tax-cut agreements with businesses

By Brian Cuaron
July 5, 2011 at 2:05 a.m.


BIG PROFITS WITH ONLINE-COUNTY AUCTIONVictoria County pulled in its largest profit in at least 13 years from its auction of surplus goods.

The auction raked in a net profit of $125,491.84 for the county. By contrast, its second-highest profit from the surplus-goods auction was from 2000 when it collected $51,954.32.

County Auditor Judy McAdams, whose office handled the auction, said that there were large equipment pieces put up for sale. For example, an asphalt zipper had a bid of $23,760 while a Fiat-Allis 65B Motor Grader got a bid of $10,250.

Kenny Spann, commissioner of Precinct 1, said that the equipment pieces sold were old and not used anymore.

The auction was put on via GovDeals.com. McAdams said a lot of governmental entities use that website.

McAdams said that the money will go back to whichever area the item was purchased from.

Here is a breakdown of how the profits will be spread out:

General fund: $17,546.71;

Victoria County Regional Airport: $357.15;

Road and bridge, Precinct 1: $20,685.20;

Road and bridge, Precinct 2: $568.72;

Road and bridge, Precinct 3: $34,684.34;

Road and bridge, Precinct 4: $51,649.72.

The Victoria County Commissioners Court voted to go after permanent tax-cut agreements with local companies.

On Tuesday, the commissioners court authorized the Victoria Economic Development Corp. to pursue pilot agreements with companies regarding the tax on freeport goods.

The county currently charges businesses for freeport goods, or inventory that comes from outside the state and is transported out of the state within 175 days. Yet once the tax is rescinded, it can't be reinstated.

The pilot agreements would require companies to still pay the freeport tax, albeit under a different classification, until the county attracts enough additional tax base to make up for any lost revenue.

"We're just trying to protect you from having a loss of revenue," said VEDC President Dale Fowler, explaining the pilot agreements.

The county has a tax base of freeport goods in the amount of $55 million. It was slated to receive $136,716 from its freeport tax in 2010, according to the VEDC.

The city of Victoria voted last month to cut the tax. However, it only collected about $33,000 from its tax on freeport goods in 2010.

The county has larger companies with larger inventories, Fowler said.

He added that six to eight county-based manufacturers have requested an exemption on freeport goods in the past.

Fowler said that it would take him a few months to put together all the pilot agreements. Afterwards, he will bring that to the court, which can then accept the agreements and rescind the freeport tax.

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