DONALDSONVILLE - The City Council plans next week to discuss the possibility of taking part in an economic development program to help bolster business and industry in Donaldsonville.
During Tuesday’s council meeting, Ascension Economic Development Corp. President and CEO Mike Eades detailed a incentive program aimed at bringing more jobs to the city by offering tax breaks.
The proposed Advantage Donaldsonville Program, Eades said, is designed to try to expand current business and bring in new manufacturers and other enterprises able to qualify for either the state’s Quality Jobs Program or Enterprise Zone Program.
As part of the program, Eades suggested, the city might offer a rebate of all or part of its 2 percent municipal sales tax on building materials, machinery, equipment and permanent fixtures, but only during a company’s construction and start-up phases.
The break would be in addition to the state-mandated 10 percent tax break for new industry startup capital, Eades said.
For non-manufacturing jobs, Eades suggested possibly rebating non-school-related property taxes on the same materials during the same startup period, if the property is titled to a political subdivision, such as the city’s industrial development board.
“We want to stress that we would not put school-related property taxes on the table with this,” Eades said.
Eades put forward another alternative that would have the project possibly qualify for the state’s Restoration Tax Abatement Program, if it involves renovating an existing facility.
To qualify for the program, Eades said, the company must follow strict guidelines. These include creating and retaining at least 20 jobs, and undergoing a cost-benefit analysis that proves that the city would receive a net benefit from the project following the incentive period.
The council would then vote on a recommendation from the Ascension Economic Development Corp. on the proposed project, Eades said, and could set any time limits on the rebate incentives.
Eades added that he already has received resolutions of endorsement from Ascension Parish government and the municipal governments of both Gonzales and Sorrento to implement the program. He added Sheriff Jeff Wiley might also participate.
Council Chairman Raymond Aucoin said the council would discuss the issue further at its next Committee of the Whole meeting, set for Monday.