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Hillsborough approves tax incentives for new oil recycling company

TAMPA — Hillsborough County commissioners unanimously approved a pair of prospective tax subsidy deals Wednesday for a company scouting locations for a new plant that would recycle used oil.

NexLube Tampa would be the first company to take advantage of a partial property tax waiver approved by voters a year ago for certain companies that create new, high-paying jobs. In this case, the waiver would be worth an estimated $470,707 annually for 10 years.

"I'm thrilled that NexLube Tampa will be coming here," said Commissioner Ken Hagan, who proposed the waiver program. "I just want to say I think that this is just one of the many programs that this board has worked hard to really encourage or set a landscape and environment that encourages job creation and economic development."

According to its application to the county, NexLube, whose ownership is based in Boca Raton, is evaluating other sites and sought tax breaks as part of its assessments of locations.

"We're pleased and very satisfied with your reception of our project," Alberto Mendoza, managing member of the ownership group, told commissioners Wednesday. "And we know we'll do good to the community."

Under terms of the proposal, the company is looking to spend $84 million on a new recycling plant and equipment on Tampa Port Authority land in eastern Hillsborough County. It plans to employ 100 workers earning average wages of $59,784, or 150 percent of the state's average private-sector wage.

Mendoza told commissioners the company would collect used oil, treat it and mix it with additives to create lubricants.

In return, commissioners would waive 75 percent of the company's expected tax bill on the new building and equipment.

The state is pledging an additional $520,000 toward the project through its Qualified Target Industry program. That amount is sweetened, in comparison with other deals under the program, because the company is considering building on a brownfield site, or a location that has suffered prior contamination.

The proposed location is at 4420 Pendola Point Road, outside eastern Tampa city limits.

Under the QTI program, the county is expected to provide a match over at least four years. But the property tax waiver would satisfy the state's matching requirement from the county.

The prospective award comes as the state's various business incentive programs are criticized for their failure to create jobs. A recent analysis found that the deals generally lack transparency to the public that is paying for them, and that many companies pledged state money fail to deliver on the jobs they promised.

Wednesday's incentive deal was unusual in that it identified the company before commissioners actually approved a deal. If Hillsborough is chosen, the company is expected to begin benefiting from its property tax break in 2014.

In other action:

• Commissioners approved an ordinance that would give law enforcement the ability to arrest people for what are considered precursor acts to prostitution, like flagging down cars while strolling the streets. Exposing private areas or asking prospective johns to do the same to prove they are not law enforcement could also result in arrest.

• The board tentatively scheduled a public hearing for Dec. 7 to consider licensing requirements for Internet sweepstakes cafes, a moratorium on new ones or a ban of the businesses altogether. The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office says they are illegal gaming operations.

• The board agreed to set a future public hearing to consider new rules aimed at preventing people from tethering dogs outside for extended periods of time.

Bill Varian can be reached at (813) 226-3387 or varian@sptimes.com.

Hillsborough approves tax incentives for new oil recycling company 11/16/11 [Last modified: Thursday, November 17, 2011 12:13am]
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