The Lincoln County Board of Commissioners and the Toledo City Council held a public hearing during a joint meeting of the two governing bodies on October 16, 2019 to consider a proposed application from Georgia-Pacific to Business Oregon, an agency of the State of Oregon, for a property tax exemption under the state’s Strategic Investment Program (SIP).
Utilizing the SIP, traded sector businesses, like Georgia-Pacific, can apply for a 15-year property tax exemption if they invest $25 million in capital construction or equipment (which is taxable) towards a larger project which qualifies for exemption. In this case, Georgia-Pacific is estimating they could invest up to $100 million towards plant modernization during the exemption period. The initial investment of $25 million would be met by the JUNO project already proposed by Georgia-Pacific for the Toledo Mill in 2020.
The State’s application process requires an agreement between Georgia-Pacific, the City of Toledo and Lincoln County to set out the exemption terms in accordance with state law. No final decisions have been made by the City or County at this juncture and none will be made at this meeting. The public hearing is an opportunity for the community to learn more about the program, Georgia-Pacific’s application and plans, and to provide interested persons an opportunity to comment on the proposed application and exemption.
If the City of Toledo later accepts the agreement as presented or modified, and the County agrees thereafter, the County can proceed to make a request to the State to consider the exemption. The SIP includes a provision that the taxpayer (Georgia-Pacific) pays a Community Service Fee of 25% of the tax savings during the exemption period to the County to be distributed through an agreement between the taxing districts (non-school) that are impacted by the exemption.
In this case it is the County and its ancillary districts (Extension, Transit, and Animal Services), the City of Toledo, the Greater Toledo Pool Recreation District, and the Port of Toledo that will be impacted by the exemption. The Board of Commissioners will continue to accept public comment through November 1st. The City of Toledo will deliberate the GP/SIP application at their November 6th Council meeting.