Members of the Wixom city administration are launching a new initiative that serves a dual purpose aimed at businesses that have been awarded tax abatements.
Given that the city doles out a significant number of tax abatements on an annual basis, Assistant City Manager Tony Nowicki and Assessing Clerk Debe Barker will begin making the rounds this summer to ensure that those companies are in compliance with their tax abatement agreements, and will offer city assistance to the businesses in some manner.
“We want to make sure progression has been made in their investment as it relates to equipment or a facility in accordance with the agreement,” Nowicki said. “In essence, we have invested in these companies by approving their tax abatement, so we are making sure that investment is maintained.”
Moreover, the initiative serves as an outreach program.
“We’ll be offering our assistance or querying if they want to partner with us in civic projects, community events, the Wixom Foundation, or the schools,” Nowicki said.
Barker acts as a liaison between the businesses and the city.
“It’s a public relations initiative to see what we can do to help them, whether that’s by giving them contacts in the business community, assisting them in completing forms, or helping them to network,” she said. “We want to remind them of who we are and answer any questions.”
Barker’s role includes handling all the phone calls, forms, and tax calculations.
“I calculate how much the company will save with the abatement and how much the city stands to lose,” Barker said.
Since 1990 the city has issued 16 tax abatements; 12 remain active.
The top criteria for awarding tax abatements include the amount of the local investment by a company and the number of Wixom jobs created.
Each company is obligated to submit annual status reports by Jan. 31 indicating the number of employees hired.
If the number of jobs created falls short of what was agreed to when the company first received the tax abatement, the company is expected to pay the city an amount equal to the tax deferment; if hiring goals and milestones are not met, the city could revoke the tax abatement.