VOL. 126 | NO. 250 | Friday, December 23, 2011
Valero Awarded 15-Year Tax Freeze
By Andy Meek
A local economic development agency granted a 15-year tax freeze to Valero Energy Corp. in return for the company spending more than $298 million in planned investments and upgrades at the Memphis refinery.
The Memphis-Shelby County Economic Development Growth Engine (EDGE) board on Wednesday, Dec. 21, awarded the payment-in-lieu-of-taxes for the benefit of the refinery at 543 W. Mallory Ave., which has 305 employees and 252 contract workers.
Valero spokeswoman Lisa Wheeler said the refinery’s importance includes the fact it is a direct supplier of Memphis International Airport, and it’s also the only refinery in Tennessee.
The tax freeze would save Valero almost $26 million in local taxes. But during the PILOT period, the company still would generate about $54 million in revenue for the city and county.
The company applied for the tax freeze because it has to continually reinvest in new personal property and equipment as a result of the technology-intensive nature of its business and the age of the Memphis plant. Valero officials also told the EDGE board at Wednesday’s meeting that the Memphis facility produces a higher-cost crude than many of its other facilities.
That leaves an opening for Valero rivals – as well as other Valero facilities – to be more competitive on costs than the Memphis refinery.
“When you talk about what we need to do in this community in terms of solid, middle-income jobs … I recommend we move forward on this,” said EDGE board member and SunTrust Bank Memphis President and CEO Johnny Moore.
Another company, AB Mauri Fleischmann’s, had been scheduled to apply for a PILOT at Wednesday’s meeting, but that application was postponed to January.
Also at Wednesday’s meeting, Reid Dulberger was formally introduced to the EDGE Board as its newly chosen president. Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell told the board roughly 150 people threw their hat into the ring to get the job, and Luttrell and Wharton personally interviewed the top five.
“We have our appointee, and it’s time to lock and load and do some business,” said board chairman Al Bright.