The behind the scenes battle to get QuikTrip for Henryetta was told to Rotarians Wednesday.
clayson rotaryMayor Jennifer Clason explained up until a week ago, a problem obtaining an access right of way was still holding up the business.
They (ODOT) wanted to auction off the right of way,” Clason said. “We found a loop hole that said ODOT could sell it to the adjacent landowner or donate it to the city. QuikTrip was the land owner. We (the city) would be glad to take it and lease it to QuikTrip.”
That battle started nearly a year ago when the plans for the Tulsa-based company to locate here were first announced.
At that time, the Henryetta Economic Development Authority (HEDA) gave approval for a sales tax incentive plan that would have provided QuikTrip with $600,000 to help purchase one of the motels. It would have allowed the company to be reimbursed for three of the four percent sales taxes generated.
Clason said since that motel was not purchased, there has been no other mention of the tax incentive.
“Towns all over the state are bending over backwards to bet businesses,” said Rotarian and HEDA chairman Keith Estes. “Incentives are a normal way of doing business.”
She told the Rotary club members QuikTrip will be closing on all the properties from the America’s Best hotel south to the I-40 exit on the east side of US 75. “They move quickly,” she said. “They told us it is estimated within six months, they would be up and running.”
That area was selected because of the high traffic volume. Clason said about 50,000 people cross the intersection daily. Sales are expected to bring in from $40,000 to $80,000 in additional sales taxes.
With a four percent sales tax base, the town has averaged about $200,000 a month in sales tax revenue.
In addition to the sales tax revenue, Clason pointed out employment opportunities would benefit the town. She said about 60 people will be hired at a, “significant wage.”
She went on to say that a lot of the work has been done quietly in order to prevent other problems from arising. “We don’t want the naysayers involved.” She went on to say the state has received numerous emails from an individual opposing the project. “They (ODOT) had to make sure all the tees were crossed because of one person hounding them,
She priased efforts by Sen. Roger Thompson and congressional liaison William Barnes and Rep. Scott Fetgatter for their help.
“Without working as a team, QuikTrip would not be coming.”