BASX Solutions Must Employ 60 Workers By April 2015

By Elon Glucklich / The Bulletin - Published Dec 17, 2013 at 12:01AM

Deschutes County has granted a five-year tax break to a new Redmond company pledging to employ up to 150 workers.

County commissioners Monday approved an enterprise zone application for BASX Solutions, which plans to manufacture portable surgical suites and power storage facilities.

Late last month, BASX officials announced a plan to purchase the former Redmond Wal-Mart building just east of U.S. Highway 97, along Airport Way near the Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center. The company was recently formed by a Tualatin manufacturer and a San Diego-based engineer.

Companies operating under enterprise zones in Deschutes County get waivers on certain property taxes over a three-, five- or seven-year period, and can extend up to 15 years.

The enterprise agreement remains in place as long as the company makes $50,000 or more in property and equipment investments and meets certain employment counts and wage figures. Economic development advocates see the enterprise agreements as a way to lure companies to the region.

BASX's enterprise zone agreement would save the company an estimated $257,000 in property taxes over five years, Jon Stark, Redmond manager of Economic Development for Central Oregon, told commissioners, essentially meaning the county will generate $257,000 less in property tax revenue over that time.

But Stark said the county would more than recoup those revenue figures through the BASX payroll once the company is operating.

BASX plans to spend much of 2014 renovating the 100,000-square-foot Wal-Mart building, Stark said, and employ 60 workers by April 2015, when the enterprise zone agreement takes effect.

In order to get the tax breaks, BASX has to pay employee wages totaling 150 percent of Deschutes County's average annual wage, or $54,200 per worker.

A 60-employee company paying 150 percent of the county average would generate $3.2 million in wages for the county each year. If BASX ramps up to 150 workers, the wage figure would increase to about $8.1 million.

"Those are very nice wages for Central Oregon," Stark said, adding that those wages would ripple across to other local businesses.

The tax breaks are only for improvements made on the building, and not on the land itself, so Deschutes County and the city of Redmond would still see some revenue, Redmond City Manager Keith Witcosky said.

Deschutes County's unemployment rate was 9.4 percent in October, about two percentage points higher than the state and national averages. Until August, the county's jobless rate had been above 10 percent for 58 straight months, or nearly five years.

"For Redmond, it's a great opportunity to finally be able to see job growth again," Witcosky said of BASX's enterprise zone agreement.

Commissioners voiced approval for the agreement Monday.

"Adding these kinds of traded-sector jobs is exciting," Commissioner Tony DeBone said.

- Reporter: 541-617-7820,