City Council approves business incentives for returning Viracon

St. George City Council, St. George, Utah, January 2014 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George New

ST. GEORGE – A tax incentive agreement for returning glass manufacturer Viracon was unanimously approved by the City of St. George City Council Thursday night. It also approved the creation of a new community development area in the Fort Pierce industrial area where two similar tax incentives are being considered for other companies.

Provided it meets requirements set by the city, Viracon stands to receive 80 percent of the tax revenue it generates over the next seven years.

In order to qualify for the incentive, Viracon must re-establish its manufacturing facility in St. George and invest approximately $2.2 million dollars into it. It must also employ at least 220 people full-time at 120 percent of the local annual wage.

“It seems like a good strategy,” Mayor Jon Pike said. “We certainly welcome the opportunity to have them back.”

Viracon is getting incentives from the state and St. George is obligated to provide additional incentives on top of that, City Manger Gary Esplin said. He added that money for the incentives was not coming from the general fund, but out of the property taxes the city would otherwise be receiving from Viracon.

After approving the incentive agreement with Viracon, the City Council approved the creation of a new 57-acre community development area in Fort Pierce. The new development area was created to accommodate incentive agreements proposed for Environmental Stoneworks and Industrial Brush.

Though the city won’t be making as much money from taxes generated by those businesses as it otherwise would, Councilman Jimmie Hughes said he feels the incentives strike a good balance between drawing businesses to the city while also benefiting the local economy.

I think we’ve done a good job of balancing it out,” Hughes said.

Pike called the incentives a “win-win” for the businesses and the city.

Viracon, which manufactures and sells architectural glass products for high rise buildings and other applications, originally came to St. George in 2007 and came to employ over 200 people. The company announced it was temporarily closing its St. George facility in April 2013 due to a downturn in market demand at the time. However, with demand for Viracon’s products on the rise once again, the company announced in September it was going to reopen the St. George facility.

Other business

The mayor officially announced the creation of the city’s Active Transportation Committee. The committee consists of 13 people who represent the city, the cycling community, business community, and health community.

The committee will represent the interests of the city’s walkers, runners, and cyclists, Pike said, and will help the city focus more on providing future infrastructure that accommodates facets of active transportation.

“We want to involve all these things in our planning,” Pike said.

The pending creation of an airport advisory board was also announced, and it is slated to be addressed in an upcoming December council meeting.

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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  • beacon November 22, 2014 at 9:12 am

    So, if we’re the place where everyone wants to be and businesses are wanting to move here, why do we need to give them incentives? Sounds like they already have an incentive: southern Utah is an incredibly desirable place to live. They should be paying us to operate here in what’s considered the best managed state. Oh, I guess that’s it. Best managed means we give businesses a break while potentially sticking our citizens with more tax burden to make up for what they don’t pay?

  • Zonkerb November 22, 2014 at 1:28 pm


  • Betty November 23, 2014 at 12:37 am

    And when incentives are gone, the doors will close until the city offers another round of incentives… Time to replace Pike and ALL of the city council members.

  • sagemoon November 24, 2014 at 11:10 am

    Dear Viracon, thank you for taking tax money out of my community for the next seven years. Also, thank you for laying off my husband. There have been so many career opportunities for him since you left. It’s wonderful to see a company take such good care of their bottom line and give jobs to the people in Brazil.

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