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AUSTIN EDITION Austin council approves Double K abatement

By Roxana Orellana

rorellana@postbulletin.com

The Austin City Council has OK'd its first tax abatement agreement with a local business.

Council members approved the Double K Specialties request for a 15-year abatement with a 4-3 vote Monday.

Some council members believed a consensus had been reached at a previous work session. Others, however, wanted more discussion.

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Councilman Wayne Goodnature said he had second thoughts about the length of the abatement.

Kyle Klaehn, president and owner of Double K Specialties Inc., plans to expand and relocate his pet business.

Council members agreed to return 90 percent of the property taxes paid by Double K for the next 15 years.

Klaehn's requests for abatement from the county board and school board have been denied.

The 15-year length of the abatement generated discussion between council members.

"A business is going to make it or fail in about five years," Goodnature said, recommending the length be reduce to five to eight years.

In light of cuts in state aid and added expenses from flooding in September, Gloria Nordin said she wasn't sure the city could afford to return the taxes. She voted against the abatement.

Councilman Lynn Koch said the council talks about helping local business and economic development, but after all, "I am not sure we are helping local businesses." Questions and concerns should have been answered during the council's work session, he said.

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"I believed we agreed as a council we were going to be supportive even if the county said no," Mickey Jorgenson said.

The abatement will begin in 2007.

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