North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

December 5, 2012

Dewey Barber Chevy to get tax, site prep incentives

From staff reports
North Jefferson News

GARDENDALE — Officials are working on an incentive package to welcome a car dealership into town.

Dewey Barber Chevrolet is planning to move from Warrior to Gardendale at Mary Buckelew Parkway and Interstate 65; it is expected to open in mid or late summer 2013.

The city held a public hearing regarding incentives for Dewey Barber on Monday during the city council meeting; no one spoke up for or against it.

City council president Stan Hogeland said the council has prepared an incentive package, which is expected to come up for a vote at the Dec. 17 council meeting.

“The bulk of the things is, we’re helping with infrastructure,” said Mayor Othell Phillips.

He said the city has agreed to spend up to $500,000 to build roads and do other infrastructure work at the site, which is off of Interstate 65, Exit 275. Dewey Barber Chevrolet would be responsible for any infrastructure preparation that exceeds that amount.

In addition, the dealership will get tax incentives.

Dewey Barber Chevrolet and the city will split sales taxes: Each will get 50 percent of the 3-percent municipal tax, and 50 percent of the 0.75-percent tax on vehicle sales.

That deal is in effect until Dewey Barber earns $380,000 in tax abatements, or in seven years, whichever comes first.

“Once they get their abatement of $380,000, that’s the max,” said Phillips. “Then the city gets the full tax. If it doesn’t hit that, the contract expires in seven years.”

Giving tax incentives is a common practice in municipalities that are working to bring in businesses.

“The way we look at it, we didn’t have any (revenue from the dealership) before,” Phillips said. “Half of something is better than all of nothing.”

The dealership, which currently occupies 10 acres in Warrior, could expand to 14 or 15 acres in Gardendale, according to Scott Barber, owner of the business.

The dealership purchased the 47-acre site from Jefferson County; in May, Gardendale annexed the property. Gardendale officials have said the dealership might develop the remaining acreage, but Scott Barber said there are no definite plans yet.

“Our number one focus is to get our project completed and operational before we look at that,” Barber said. “We’re just excited (about the move). We’re looking forward to being part of the Gardendale community since it’s where we live. I think it’s going to be a perfect situation for us and the city.”

The dealership is moving because GM is requiring it to upgrade, and Dewey Barber owners and management decided it would be cost-prohibitive to upgrade the Warrior facility.

In other business, the council: