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Answers few for Ucon neighbors concerned about Cives Steel tax exemption

By By Caleb James, Reporter
Published On: May 08 2013 11:55:58 PM CDT

Caleb James reports.

UCON, Idaho -

As massive buildings rise, and heavy equipment stirs, the Cives Steel Company is close to opening a fabrication plant in Ucon.

Now, they're asking the county to give them a major tax exemption.

Neighbors were expecting a lot of tax revenue from the Cives project. Now some Ucon residents are asking:

What happens next?

"It was the main draw for Ucon," said plant next-door-neighbor Stephanie Streeper. "The little old city of Ucon to have this and to have that tax revenue."

For Streeper, the sounds of spring used to be simple. But this is no ordinary spring.
 
From her dining room window, she sees a construction site. It's something she never welcomed, but now she feels like there's more reason to worry about the future of her neighborhood.

"It was my understanding they were expecting the property taxes would be extra revenue for the city," said Streeper. "Now the company is requesting that it not have to pay that for a few years."
 
Cives has applied for a 5 year property tax exemption. Bonneville County Commissioner Roger Christensen explained it's the first application of its kind in the county since the state legislature passed an economic incentives program allowing companies to apply for tax breaks.
 
"The Department of Commerce and the company, Cives, are getting together to come up with an incentives proposal," said Christensen.
 
Christensen said public hearings will be scheduled once Cives and the Department of Commerce come to the county with a proposal.

Lt. Idaho Governor Brad Little toured the Cives site on Wednesday and our station caught up with him on Wednesday afternoon. He said Commerce encouraged his visit to the site, so we asked about the tax exemption.
     
"So today, there wasn't any discussion about the tax exemption piece?" asked reporter Caleb James.  
     
"No, that would be, and that is an issue, and those are always negotiated, and generally it's an exemption for a short period of time which is more made up in the long term with the taxes they pay," said Little. "I don't know the details of that because that is a local government jurisdiction issue and not a state government issue."

Our station called the main number listed for Cives in Georgia throughout the day on Wednesday. There wasn't an answer, or an automated system to take a voice-mail.

The Streepers said they plan to move out of Ucon and have already put their home up for sale.

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