City Council votes to team up with county in enterprise zone

The city of Lebanon is moving forward with plans to re-designate the South Santiam Enterprise Zone with co-sponsor Linn County after a consensus at the Lebanon City Council meeting on April 11.

The current agreement, which expires on June 30, 2018, includes Albany, Lebanon, Millersburg, Tangent, Scio, Lyons and parts of Linn County.

Albany is now considered a metropolitan statistical area, so cannot re-apply as part of a rural enterprise zone.

The South Santiam Enterprise Zone is a rural enterprise zone that provides financial incentives to businesses to develop industrially designated land within the city’s urban growth area.

Enterprise zones are sponsored by city, port, county, or tribal governments, typically to serve as a focal point for local development efforts. According to Business Ore-gon, there are currently 69 enterprise zones in Oregon, 54 of them rural.

Businesses that locate or expand into an enterprise zone get property tax exemptions on the new plant and equipment for a period of time.

The new agreement will be only between Lebanon and Linn County, said Walt Wendolowski, community development director.

At their February meeting the Council discussed options for the re-designation.

“Council was concerned with the complexity of coordinating among the various jurisdictions and supported limiting the re-designated area to the Lebanon vicinity,” Wendolowski said in a memo to the Council. “A co-sponsorship with Linn County was found acceptable, provided the city could manage the program internally. Based on this scheme, the re-designated area would be limited to industrial designated lands within the urban growth boundary.”

Part of the requirement to re-designate the zone was to notify local taxing jurisdictions, which Wendolowski said staff did.

Those jurisdictions are the city of Lebanon, including Urban Renewal District, Lebanon Aquatic District, Lebanon Fire District, Lebanon School District, Linn County, Linn County – 4-H Extension, Linn-Benton Community College, Linn-Benton-Lincoln Education Service District and the North Lebanon Water Control District.

As of the April 11 meeting, he had not received responses from any of the recipients.

“The fire chief wanted to know what the impacts are,” Wendolowski said. “ We had meeting with the fire board and they saw no issues.”

The co-sponsorship with Linn County is due to location of property, he said. But this is Lebanon’s program.

“If we were to grant a tax break, we could do that without coordinating with the county and just send them notice,” Wendolowski said.

The councilors gave consensus without questions.

In other business, the council:

n Discussed Fifth Street traffic calming measures and decided to try a radar speed sign;

n Approved a resolution to support the Lebanon Downtown Association’s First Friday events which will take place from May through September of 2018;

n Approved an intergovernmental agreement between the city and the Oregon Department of Corrections for the use of three beds in the Lebanon jail for low-level offenders on 10- to 14-day sanctions;

n Approved an agreement with JTR Maple, LLC for a parking lot next to the city attorney’s office;

n Approved a usage agreement with the Lebanon Community School District for use of the Santiam Travel Station at $100 per meeting;

n Established a museum ad hoc advisory committee to gauge community interest in having a Museum of Lebanon’s History and discuss what it would take to establish a local museum.