THE DALLES — Wasco County and the city of The Dalles continue to work on a tax abatement agreement for new Google server facilities in The Dalles.
“I’m still confident this will happen,” said The Dalles Mayor Richard Mays when asked of the ongoing pause in public discussions.
He said early timelines on the SIP agreement process were optimistic, and lawyers on both sides have been working with the broad agreement proposal, “crossing the ‘T’s and dotting the ‘I’s,” Mays said. The city is continuing to work with developers regarding water service to the facilities as well, and that also is continuing to move forward, Mays said.
In addition, developers and Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue continue to work on the best way to provide fire protection for the new facilities. Although Mays is not directly involved with the work of the fire department, as he is with the SIP agreement, he said progress is being made and the work appears to be going well. “I’m fully confident things will get worked out,” he said.
Design LLC is also working to obtain the necessary permits from a host of state and federal agencies, Mays added, and that has also slowed the process.
Mays said given the pace of current negotiations, he anticipates the completed SIP agreement will come again before the city and county in three months, if not sooner.
Tyler Stone, administrative officer with Wasco County, confirmed the county is continuing to work with both Google and Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue to “bring the SIP agreement to conclusion.”
The Strategic Investment Program (SIP) is a state program overseen by Business Oregon. It provides up to 15 years of partial tax abatement for a project and is similar to an Enterprise Zone, also a state program, under which previous data centers were built.
It involves agreements between the developers, city and county. Developers must also work out a fire protections strategy with the fire department.
In early march, Stone told Wasco County commissioners a final decision on the agreement would be delayed while details are worked out. “These things are complicated, especially once we start to get the details of the agreement,” Stone said,