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Ford dealership asks DeKalb for $110K tax rebate

Published: Monday, Sept. 9, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

DeKALB – Brad Manning Ford is asking for financial help from the city of DeKalb to complete a renovation project that it says will ultimately benefit the city.

The Ford dealership, which has been operating on the south side of DeKalb since 1976, has requested a $110,000 sales tax rebate to help fund a building expansion project that the dealership expects to cost $2.3 million. The matter will be presented to the City Council for the first time at today’s Committee of the Whole meeting at 5 p.m.

“I am confident that with your help, I will be able to update the facility and improve our business by 30 percent or more,” the dealership’s president, Pat Manning, wrote in a letter to the city. “This guarantees our future as a small business and a steady flow of tax dollars to the city.”

According to documents provided by the city, the dealership wants to demolish its existing showroom, customer waiting room and some offices and replace it with a larger, modernized showroom that would add about 3,700 square feet to the current building, which houses about 18,000 square feet.

Under the proposal, the dealership also expects to resurface its lot, add new light poles and hire six new employees.

The dealership says it can get $400,000 from Ford to put towards the project, but that it still can’t foot the rest of the bill. The $110,000 that it is requesting from the city represents about 4.7 percent of the total cost – below the city’s traditional maximum project cost-sharing percentage of 20 percent.

The requested rebate would come from new sales taxes generated over and above the existing taxes that the dealership generates now, according to city documents. The program would end after seven years, or whenever the $110,000 mark is met using a 50-50 split – whichever happens first.

According to documents that the dealership provided to the city, it expects to generate a total of $110,000 in sales taxes in 2014 and more than $170,000 per year by the year 2020.

“[Manning] is expecting a growth in new sales, so whatever that new growth in sales is, it would be remitted to him for him to expand,” Acting City Manager Rudy Espiritu said.

If the council directs city staff to move forward with the tax rebate proposal, it will be presented to the Economic Development Committee at their Sept. 17 meeting before coming back to the council for final approval.

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