BELTON — The Bell County Commissioners Court voted unanimously on Tuesday to uphold the city of Belton’s decision to rescind Aspen Air’s tax abatement agreement.
When company co-owners Gordon Tarnow and Brad Snively decided to close Aspen Air two weeks before Thanksgiving last year, they didn’t just lay off 90 employees without pay. They also violated agreements with the city and county.
The residential and commercial heating and air conditioning company, which had been in business 18 years when it closed, outgrew its location on U.S. Highway 190 in the late 2000s.
New home needed
The property was sold to Hill Country Transit for use as a bus maintenance barn, and Aspen Air needed a new home.
To keep the business in Belton, the City Council approved an incentive package in July 2010 that allowed the company to purchase five acres in Phase II of the Belton Business Park from the Belton Economic Development Corp. for $25,000, an ad valorem property tax abatement and a $75,000 annual sales tax rebate for five years if the company met a 100-jobs employment threshold.
In exchange, Aspen’s new facility had to be “substantially completed” by July 1, 2011, according to the agreement.
The deadline was amended on April 26, 2011, granting the company a 12-month extension.
Aspen Air eventually constructed a 18,924-square-foot facility.
When Aspen Air closed in November, the company owed a total of $12,656 in taxes on the buildings and land with the majority, $9,442, owed to the Belton Independent School District.
Belton City Manager Sam Listi told the City Council members that the company owed the city $2,300 when he presented a motion to rescind its abatement agreement during a Feb. 11 meeting.