Zaxby’s incentive OK’dPublished 12:43am Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Seven local residents – most of whom own businesses – Tuesday night voiced their opposition to a resolution that will rebate a portion of the sales taxes collected at Andalusia’s new Zaxby’s for a period of four years.
Mayor Earl Johnson explained that the rebate is allowed under a Constitutional Amendment approved by voters in 2002 granting the county and larger municipalities certain powers to promote and develop business.
“This went into law in 2003,” Johnson said. “If your business was founded prior to 2003, the City of Andalusia did not have the power and authority to do what is proposing to be done at Zaxby’s and already done in other locations.”
Johnson said that similar incentives have been used to help convince Marvin’s, Goody’s and a sporting goods store to locate in Andalusia.
“All three of these were handled the exact same way as this one,” Johnson said. “We heard no complaints from anyone about those three events.”
Johnson said the criteria for considering similar incentives include:
• The business must request rebate. It is never voluntarily offered.
• The business investment by the requesting business must be significant.
“In this case, Zaxby’s $1.5 million investment is significant in my mind,” Johnson said. “
• The business must create a significant number of new jobs.
• There must be other extraneous benefits.
“In this case, it was the remaking of a high profile location that has been an eyesore for many years. It was not creating any sales tax revenue for city or county or for the state. We felt like redoing that intersection would be much of an improvement to what had been there and sitting empty for many, many years.
• The rebate only continues if the business remains open and the investment matches the rebate.
Johnson said the incentives were important in locating Zaxby’s in Andalusia, as the owners also considered locations in Greenville and in Crestview, Fla.
The council unanimously approved the incentive, which rebates taxes equivalent to 2 percent of the restaurant’s sales.