People planning to open a new business in Clovis can take advantage of a new city incentive that will pay back half their sales-tax revenues over the next three years.
The Clovis City Council approved a plan Monday night to allow sales-tax rebates for new businesses that go into vacant spaces in city shopping centers.
The city will rebate half its share of sales taxes generated by those new businesses. The city collects a penny in tax for every dollar in sales revenues.
To qualify for the rebate, a new business must generate at least $25,000 in sales tax revenue or $2.5 million in annual sales. Tina Sumner, the city's economic and community development director, said a chain-type drug store could probably reach that amount.
But new businesses, including restaurants, must open by the end of 2012 to qualify. Businesses opening a second location also would qualify.
The city has 15 vacant buildings in its main commercial corridors with about 400,000 square feet of space, including three former grocery store sites and the former Gottschalks store in Sierra Vista Mall.
The program will apply to a building that was vacant on Jan. 1, 2011, or buildings left vacant afterward.
Council Member Bob Whalen said he supported the tax-rebate idea, since vacant buildings are not bringing sales taxes to the city anyway.
By trying to attract large, anchor-type businesses, Council Member Jose Flores said, smaller businesses could be attracted to newly revitalized centers, which would further boost sales tax revenues.
Monday night's action comes a month after the city began offering as an incentive to commercial and industrial developers the suspension of some sewer and water facilities fees as a way to attract companies to the city. None have applied yet.