The Pagosa Springs Town Council is currently in the middle of its budget season for 2016, having conducted several meetings and work sessions to discuss how it will, or won’t, spend the taxpayers’ money next year.
One item that Town Manager Greg Schulte brought up at a recent work session concerned the economic incentives the town has offered to encourage businesses to develop or expand in the downtown area.
Schulte explained this is the first year the town will actually pay out tax rebates to businesses that have moved here. Between Tractor Supply Company and Hometown Food Markets, the town will need to budget for $70,000 worth of refunds next year.
“The decision to do Hometown Food Markets was for great reasons,” Schulte admitted. “It was a part of our goals and objectives, but there is an outcome to that, and there is an actual expense.”
Earlier this year, at its March 27 meeting, the council authorized Mayor Don Volger “to sign an agreement between Hometown Food Markets and the Town of Pagosa Springs for incentives for a downtown grocery store located at 703 San Juan Street, the location formerly occupied by City Market.”
According to the agreement, the town offered a 100-percent rebate on all sales tax and property tax until the end of 2020, waived all town permit and plan review fees for construction and redevelopment of the building, and promised to install a geothermal energy line to the edge of the property, for free, to provide geothermal energy for the grocery store at no cost for five years from the time that the geothermal energy line became operational.