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March 22, 2013

Transcript of Stillwater Chamber of Commerce's City Council forum Friday


STILLWATER, Okla. — Noble: "Quality of life is important to all of us. And there are many ways to attract quality of life. Sometimes, it's economic development that brings quality of life. Sometimes, it's private businesses, private donors, private foundations that help us establish quality of life. So, the City Council does work as a team. No one can set a policy, because it is a team building team decision. We need to find out what the community wants, what the community needs. We need to engage the community and we need to see if there are other ways to finance rather than raising taxes or anything like that."

"What are your beliefs on incentivizing companies to join our community on the retail and industry side?"

Pina: "My viewpoint has drastically changed. As I came into the Council, I heard of incentives i.e. tax incentives. I personally, at this stage, do not believe in tax incentives. But, what I do believe in is partnerships. When I say partnership, a company wants to come to us and let's say Lisa (Navrkal) has found this company and we've decided that the company should come. In the negotiation phase, we should ask them what can they do for us and what can we do for them as opposed to you're coming - what can you do for me in terms of a tax break? I think Stillwater has been burnt by tax breaks. I believe that a partnership doesn't give you tax breaks. It  gives you incentives that says you do for me, I'll do for you and therefore we can work it out as a mutual concern. We can bring companies here that says, 'OK, I'm located in X area and you may need road improvements. We'll do road improvements.' Any maybe later on down the road, as the tax bases come in, we can pay them a certain percentage over a period of time for the work that they did up front. That's a collaborative effort. That's a joint effort. But just to bring a company in here and to tell the community we brought this company in and we gave them, for lack of other terms, ten percent of their tax base will be free for X amount of years; I don't believe in that at all."

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