City and the county leaders voted to give hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax incentives to Stivers Ford to revamp the car dealership's showroom. Those who voted for the tax break say the car dealership deserves it , but others say government officials shouldn't pick and choose which businesses they will help.
Montgomery City Councilmen and County Commissioners voted to give Stivers Ford a 10 year incentive package. Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange says the money encourages Stivers to stay on East Boulevard, in an area where other businesses have left.
"They have the opportunity to go out of where they are and we've been trying very hard to revitalize, to reinvigorate that whole area," he says.
It's complicated but we found out that Stivers will get at least a half a million dollars over a ten year period. It could be more, based on how much is spent on renovations. But now, some are questioning the incentive package, like a caller on our talk back segment.
"I'd like to know why certain businesses, I know a local car lot on the bypass got the tax break. Why shouldn't everybody be able to get that? Every business?"
City Councilman Richard Bollinger answered by saying that Stivers will help renew business around the area. But while Montgomery City Councilmen voted unanimously for the incentives, two county commissioners voted against it. Commissioner Reed Ingram and Commissioner Ronda Walker.
"I really don't think the county commission, we should put ourself in the position of picking winners and losers," she says. "How do we say yes to one business and no to the next business that comes and asks?"
But Strange says he believes it's money well spent.
"Fair is really in the eye of the beholder," he says. "People accuse you of picking and choosing. We will pick and choose those entities that want to do the right thing, want to improve Montgomery."
Just to be clear, Stivers did nothing wrong in taking the money. People are not upset with them, they're more upset with the city and county government. Stivers will be adding up to 25 jobs with its expansion.