AEDC seeks more tax breaks for Coca-Cola plant

The Amarillo Economic Development Corporation or the AEDC, who is building a new facility for the company in exchange for their downtown property, is asking Potter County to sweeten the deal to keep Coke in Amarillo.

The AEDC is seeking the Potter County Commissionâ??s blessing to green light a tax break for Coca Colaâ??s new bottling plant, in order to make room for the new multi-purpose stadium downtown. The deal would freeze Cokeâ??s taxes at present levels even when they move to the newer, more valuable facility.

The AEDC is financed by an extra half a cent that we all pay in sales tax, and they plan to use these funds to move Coke to a new 8.5 million dollar plant. As part of the deal, they want a break, or tax abatement from Potter county, so that their taxes donâ??t go up when they move into their new building.

â??Coke has been a great corporate citizen to Amarillo and to this project. Coke is a very savvy company so of course theyâ??re going to ask for that to decrease their operating costs,â?? said Brian Jennings, from the AEDC. â??I think itâ??s a wise ask on their part.â??

The two commissioners Pronews 7 spoke with said that the commission has to look at whether this is a good deal for their citizens.

â??Potter County has to look at how that affects our other tax payers, so we have to get something in return,â?? said Leon Church, a Potter County Commissioner.

The commission is looking at bringing back guidelines to the application process that companies must fill out when they request a tax break. The commissioners said that theyâ??re concerned that theyâ??re funding tax breaks for people who donâ??t live in their county, and that downtown development efforts are sometimes hard for voters to understand.

â??For me, I think that thereâ??s a lot of confusion around who will own the entities, how they will be taxes, what they will actually look like,â?? said Mercy Murguia, another Potter County Commissioner. â??I think that itâ??s a signal that people want to ask questions around transparency, as they should, as those are their tax dollars.â??

THE AEDC said that this deal is essential to keeping Coca-Cola in Amarillo, and so far the city of Amarillo, Amarillo College and the Panhandle Groundwater Conservation District have agreed to tax breaks for the new plant. Now itâ??s up to the Potter County Commission to see if they will fall in line, and agree to fund their part of this multi-use ballpark. A decision is expected sometime late next month.