Iowa city prepares to give mystery company millions

West Des Moines city officials have cued up $36 million in local and state tax incentives for a company, but won’t tell its citizens who that company is.

“I shouldn’t say anything,” West Des Moines Mayor Steven Gaer told Iowa Watchdog. “The company has asked us not to.”

The code name is Project Alluvion, a proposed data center. At its March 24 meeting, the City Council voted unanimously and without discussion to make $18 million in infrastructure improvements and to apply on behalf of the mystery company for another $18 million in state sales tax rebates from the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s High Quality Jobs Program.

According to a document the city has prepared for the IEDA, when completed Project Alluvion will create 84 permanent jobs and have a minimum assessed value of $255 million.

But according to the mayor, the company’s plan depends on getting $18 million in sales tax rebates on construction materials, the maximum amount that can be awarded through the High Quality Jobs Program.

“If it’s not approved, the company has said it would reconsider locating here and might look at other locations,” Gaer said.

Those tax rebates, instead of engineering considerations, also are what determined how much the city is going to spend on infrastructure improvements for Project Alluvion. The rebates require a matching amount to be spent by the city. To get the company $18 million from the state, the city will have to spend $18 million on the project.

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