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Woodstock expands incentive plan for businesses

WOODSTOCK – Businesses already in Woodstock but looking to relocate or expand within the city could now receive economic incentives to do so.

The City Council on Tuesday night approved a revision to an economic development policy created in 2011 to provide sales tax rebates to businesses locating in the city. The plan – which to this point has been utilized only by Kohl’s – had excluded businesses already based in Woodstock.

Under the revision, Woodstock businesses are eligible to receive the incentive if they are developing or redeveloping a location at least the same size as the original, will maintain staff numbers and have hit sales tax revenues of at least $100,000 in the three previous years.

The business also must show a projected growth in revenue.

“Hopefully those that want to grow, they’re going to grow here in Woodstock,” Community and Economic Development Director Cort Carlson said. “We can have them stay here rather than have them maybe look outside the city at other municipalities for their growth.”

The change in policy comes at a time when officials have been in talks with a couple of local businesses considering expansion.

Carlson declined to release names of the businesses but called them “real benefits to Woodstock.”

“They’re both businesses that are long-term in the city that we want to maintain here,” he said.

Mayor Brian Sager said the initial creation of the policy in 2011 was “one piece” of an incentive plan that he’d envisioned would continue to expand.

He hinted that a future revision could grant incentives for smaller businesses to move to the city. Businesses coming from outside Woodstock are currently required to bring in at least $10 million a year in gross sales.

“I believe with the economic downturn, the municipality has begun to understand that we need to take a very proactive and aggressive approach to economic development,” Sager said.

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