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Portage Council approves tax abatements for Amazon data center

Portage Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Andy Maletta discusses Amazon's tax abatement request during the Dec. 5 Portage City Council meeting.
screenshot from City of Portage YouTube video
Portage Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Andy Maletta discusses Amazon's tax abatement request during the Dec. 5 Portage City Council meeting.

Amazon is getting tax help to open a data center in Portage. The city council finalized a pair of property tax abatements for the company Tuesday.

One phases in taxes over 10 years on Amazon's $35 million investment in its new building near the Ameriplex development. The other phases in taxes over five years on $52 million dollars worth of IT equipment.

Andy Maletta is the executive director of the Portage Economic Development Corporation. He said the new data center will start with 10 employees, with each job paying at least $100,000 dollars.

"You hear about other communities getting warehouses. This isn't a warehouse. This is a data center. So the majority of what you're going to find in there is high tech equipment, big servers, so it requires less people to run it," Maletta told council members.

He said even with the abatements, the project will generate $7.5 million in tax revenue over the next 10 years, compared to just $180,000 without development. "The good thing about it is it's more permanent," Maletta added. "You know, a warehouse, you could empty out and then close up and move away. The data center, with this investment in there, should be a part of our community for a long time."

That didn't stop council member Ferdinand Alvarez from voting against the abatements. He said at the last meeting that a company with Amazon's status could afford its own property taxes.

The abatements appeared to be approved at the last meeting, but with Alvarez opposing and three members absent, it didn't have the needed majority of the full council.