The Alpine School District Board of Education is scheduled to discuss and potentially vote on $11.5 million in tax cuts for a yet-unnamed business’ proposal to build a food manufacturing facility in Eagle Mountain.
Dubbed “Project Mockingbird,” the facility would be built on an 80-acre parcel of land located in the area between 4000 North and Lehi-Fairfield Road. The project is expected to bring about 1,400 new jobs to the city, according to a project plan from the Eagle Mountain Redevelopment Agency.
Under the deal, the mystery company would give the district 10 acres for free for the site of a future elementary to help accommodate for the growth the project would bring in, according to the school board resolution for the interlocal cooperation agreement. The school site would be close to a developing residential area and would be deeded to the district at least a year before the manufacturing facility opens. The district would also receive sufficient water shares at no cost for the development and operation for the school.
The possible vote will come about a year after the Alpine School District Board of Education voted to give more Facebook more than $150 million in tax breaks over 35 years. The district’s vote — and ones made by other taxing entities — was made before Facebook’s name was announced to the public.
School board members were originally urged to vote on Facebook’s tax breaks before they knew its name. The vote was delayed and held after the board learned the company’s name and had more time to study the project.
This project is different, according to Scott Carlson, the president of the Alpine School District Board of Education. Carlson said the board has met with the food manufacturing company and has discussed the project’s details. Carlson compared the decision to the construction of a residence, and said that while neighbors don’t know which family is going to move in, they know it will be a home.
“This company has been very interested in being a good partner and we are glad to have them come to the valley,” he said.
Receiving free land for a future school was also an important part of discussions.
“We need more property for schools, and this project brings a lot of jobs, and therefore a lot of students,” Carlson said. “They are trying to mitigate their impacts to the district and hence to the taxpayers for things that come along with their project.”
The area is vacant and underutilized land, according to the proposed interlocal cooperation agreement, and generates about $13,110 a year in taxes. When developed, it is expected to produce about $1.8 million a year in property taxes.
The tax break would be for 60% of the Alpine School District’s annual tax increment from the project area and would be capped at $11.5 million or 20 years, whichever comes first.
The project is anticipated to receive tax breaks from other governmental, taxing entities.
The company is also expected to meet annually with the district to discuss and implement partnership and engagement opportunities, which are valued at at least $100,000 a year for 20 years.
Linda Peterson, the communications and community relations director for Eagle Mountain, said the company is not being named out of respect for its wishes.
She anticipates the name could be announced next week.
The city was vocal during its Facebook announcement that it wanted data centers to move to the city. Peterson said the city is still interested in pursuing more data centers, but is also open to different economic options.
“There is a lot of land available, a lot of opportunity, and I think as long as the project or the company are a good fit for the community and for the land available, the city is open to any possibilities,” she said.