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Price council denies Sutherland’s request

By Sun Advocate

The Price City Council denied a request from Sutherland Lumber Company regarding incentives for businesses locating in the Price area.
Sutherland Lumber recently signed a lease to open a home improvement store in the former Wal-Mart Building at 406 S. Hwy 55 in Price. The location of the property does not lie within the perimeters of the city’s redevelopment zones and does not qualify for funds dedicated to redevelopment.
Price city has two redevelopment zones, one consisting of the Main Street corridor and another including the east side of Utah Highway 55 up to the county landfill area on Airport Road.
Sutherland Lumber submitted a letter to the city council, dated Nov. 4, to request that no other competing business be given aid from the redevelopment funds.
The letter states, “The City of Price has not offered or made available to Sutherland Building Material Shopping Center Inc. or Sutherland affiliated companies (“Sutherlands”) any financial or economic incentives or advantageous financing, nor has the city agreed to any expenditures benefiting Sutherlands for the road or surrounding property improvements,” states the letter.
The letter requests the officials to assure “that any competition between Sutherlands and their competitors be accomplished on a level playing field, without additional advantages” and that the city “not offer or make available any tax or financial incentives, reduced or abated taxes or any other financial advantages to any retail home improvement competitor (i.e., Home Depot, Lowe’s and Menards)” as long as Sutherlands is located in Price.
According to the council, Sutherlands had run into a similar problem in Colorado when a competing company was given special incentives to locate in the area and neither business had survived.
After considering the letter, however, the council concluded that such an agreement could have negatives effects on the redevelopment areas and tie the hands of future council members when dealing with relocating businesses.
According to Community Director Nick Tatton, Price City will treat every business in the area fairly and assure that no business is given advantage over a competitor. However, he said the blanketing verbage of the document could not be approved.
He added that the denial of the request should not change Sutherlands plans to come to Price.
Two Sutherlands are currently located in Utah, with one in Salt Lake City and one in West Jordan. The West Jordan store will actually be the store that relocates to Price. Eight to 10 employees from the West Jordan operation will transfer to the Price location. A total of 30 to 50 jobs are expected to be offered by the company.
Opening date for the lumber and home improvement store is projected for March 15, 2005.
According to Herman Sutherland, son of Sutherland’s founder Robert Sutherland, Sutherlands has a unique family-owned heritage. The first lumberyard was built in 1917 in Durant, Okla., although numerous other yards throughout Oklahoma were soon added. Today, there are more than 80 stores.
For more on Sutherlands, Carbon County residents with Internet access can visit the Sutherlands website at www.sutherlands.com.

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