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Posted on July 15, 2013 at 12:59 PM by PattiAnn Schultz
In 2006 Xerox requested and received COMIDA tax dollars to build the 135,000 square foot toner plant here in Webster. In press releases since that time, Xerox has admitted that, “total capital investment in the toner plant is close to $100 million.” Figuring that out $100 million divided by 135,000 square feet we are talking about $736.00 per square foot including equipment and extras. However, a 1999 Court Ordered Agreement from the judge between the Town of Webster and Xerox only allowed the town to assess the toner plant at $15.00 per square foot.
In 2011 the Court Order between the Town and Xerox expired. On July 11, 2012 Xerox sued the Town of Webster to lower its assessment on three other parcels of land and buildings from $15.00 per square foot to around $5.00 per square foot. The town, at this time, is in negotiations with Xerox over this latest court action.
Now fast forward to this week when I was notified that Xerox was once again seeking tax relief from COMIDA to build an addition to Building 216 (the toner plant). The 50,000 square foot addition is to expand the company’s global toner production capacity, but in my mind this expansion comes at the expense of the Webster taxpayers.
If granted by COMIDA (which it seem that they always do grant) Xerox will be exempt from state and local sales and use tax with respect to the qualifying personal property portion of the facility, exemption from mortgage recording tax with respect to any qualifying mortgage to the facility, exemption from general real property taxation with respect to the facility, which exemption shall be offset, in whole or in part, by contractual payments in lieu of taxes by the company for the benefit of affected tax jurisdictions. In other words Webster residents do not receive full value taxes on this addition for a number of years. Do you, the resident, know that all three of the above sources are revenue to the town?
In return Xerox promises to hire 25 employees but it does not say how many employees Xerox can let go for a negative employee count in the future. For example, in its heyday Xerox employed 15,000 people and now its employee count is down to 5,000 here in Webster and Rochester. Monroe County has given countless dollars in COMIDA monies to them already and employee count at Xerox is down and not up. So the question is how is COMIDA helping total employment here in Webster and at Xerox? The answer to that question is a loud and clear it is not at all. It is just plain corporate greed on the Webster tax payer.
Another case in point is the recent Call Center at Building 200 of the Xerox campus. They received $250,000 from Monroe County COMIDA for exemption of sales tax on goods purchased for the Call Center and $6 million in tax credits from New York State to complete the deal. In building permits taken out to do the remodeling of Building 200, Xerox claimed in construction documents that costs of $55.00 per square foot but the assessment of Building 200 remains at approximately $15.00 per square foot and Xerox is seeking to lower that to $5.00 under the current lawsuit. So tell me again why we the Webster taxpayer should be happy that Xerox wants COMIDA tax dollars to expand again?
In my humble opinion Xerox wants two bites of the tax apple here. First they want tax breaks to build in Webster when their profits and the CEO’s salaries are at record highs. Second, they also want lower assessments to pay less in taxes here in Webster while the Webster resident picks up any slack necessary to balance the $21 million town budget.
I only bring this information forward to you, the Webster resident, to inform you of the activities taking place here with Xerox. You can form your own opinions as to if I am right or wrong in my observations.
As always, if you should you have any questions about your town government, please feel free to contact me during regular business hours at (585) 872-7068; or email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ronald W. Nesbitt