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Tax break OK’d to bring Prineville Facebook expansion

KTVZ

The ‘friendship’ between Facebook and Prineville may have just become a little richer — by millions and millions of dollars.

City and Crook County leaders signed an agreement Wednesday offering the social media giant property tax exemptions for the next 15 years on a new, third data center. It’s an incentive to entice Facebook to keep investing in Prineville as the company eyes expansions in other states.

“They pay taxes on the dirt. They don’t pay taxes on the facilities,” Crook County Commissioner Ken Fahlgren said Thursday.

Fahlgren added that he and other community leaders feel the real benefit will be to the residents and the local economy. In order to save money, Facebook will have to spend it.

“That break allows them — or forces them — to spend 200 million-plus dollars,” Fahlgren said.

That’s big bucks that would bring in hundreds of workers to build the new data center. But once the work is finished, it’s all about the computers — and not many workers needed to oversee and maintain them.

“We’re going to get more than 10 jobs,” Fahlgren said.

Some say that’s not worthy of a big tax break.

“If they employed a lot of people, it would be good. But if they employ 30 people, that’s not a real big deal,” said Prineville resident Robert Boice.

Fahlgren insists Prineville does not have room to be to be picky.

“A family wage is hard to come by, and tech industries are strong,” he said.

While Facebook is not commenting on job potential, Fahlgren is hopeful 50 more people will have new jobs at the facility, if Facebook accepts the proposal.

Right now Facebook’s other two data centers employ roughly 150 people combined. The company has spent nearly $800 million in Prineville since opening its first data center five years ago.

A company representative told NewsChannel 21 that Facebook is pleased with the city’s and county’s move, and is going over the proposal’s details. He said they hope to make a decision on whether to expand there in the next week.

KTVZ News Team

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