Rules set for car lot incentives

Carson City's car dealerships would have to stay put for at least 15 years to take advantage of an incentive package officials say will boost car sales and the city's sales-tax take.

The Carson City Redevelopment Authority on Thursday will consider a set of ground rules for the city's second redevelopment district - an area where tax dollars are used to help fund economic development projects for private business owners.

The newest district includes eight car dealerships on 133 acres along South Carson Street - Carson City's auto row. It was created last fall after two Carson City auto dealers bought 144 acres from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in nearby Douglas County, drawing speculation of a new auto mall and a dealership exodus from Carson City.

New-car dealerships in Carson City bring in about $200 million in annual sales and account for more than 20 percent of the city's sales-tax base.

"It's very important we maintain that (business) sector," said City Manager Linda Ritter.

Under the proposed plan, car dealerships within the redevelopment district will be able to carry out land purchases or improve their lots using a portion of the sales tax they generate.

Dealerships will be eligible for 20 percent of what their sales contribute to city coffers over a 10-year period. Dealers would be required to stay in Carson City for 15 years if they take redevelopment funds, or be forced to pay the money back.

Carson City Redevelopment Manager Joe McCarthy called the incentive plan an investment, saying dealerships will use the funds to improve their businesses and improve their sales, which will also improve the amount of sales tax dollars the city gets in return.

"(Car sales) are not just going to grow," McCarthy said, "we're going to help them grow.

"This is a very generous effort on the part of the city to work with auto dealers and to illustrate how much we care about them and (what they do) for the city."

Initially, officials scoured Carson City looking for an ideal spot for an auto mall that might accommodate all the local dealers, as well as others looking to move or expand. But McCarthy said there is currently no land for sale of auto mall size. Until something opens up, he said, "the focus is on South Carson and retaining and growing our auto dealerships."

If you go

What: Carson City Redevelopment Authority and Board of Supervisors meeting

When: 8:30 a.m. Thursday

Where: Sierra Room in the Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St.

Information: (775) 887-2100


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