A Good Deal for Oshkosh

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Oshkosh Corporation has faced its share of adversity over 100 years, yet our community has always felt assured that the company would pull through and become even better and stronger. Repeatedly, we have seen character and perseverance from the Oshkosh team.

Sometimes change requires a business to call upon their community for support; it’s then that the community reveals its own character to the business. In economic development, the manner of responding to these business calls is known as ‘business retention and expansion’. The businesses that call Oshkosh “home” provide the foundation upon which economic development emanates.

Oshkosh Corporation is asking for OUR help regarding the opportunity before us. The Oshkosh community is not accustomed to this scenario; for years, we have asked Oshkosh Corporation to assist our causes, schools, and organizations, and they have followed through. We are trying to help Oshkosh Corporation build the best case possible to their stakeholders to maintain and grow their Oshkosh foothold. The company needs to compete internationally for talent, so the site must attract new people to Oshkosh.

Oshkosh Corporation has dealt with the City in good faith. The company has contributed specifics for structuring a competitive deal. Oshkosh Corporation has been patient, honest and transparent with the City, whereas other companies might have decided to move along to a more populated community with a more lucrative package, quicker process, and development-ready site.

I would like to address two areas which demonstrate why this proposal is financially beneficial to the city of Oshkosh even beyond the evidence about economic impact and charitable contributions.

Land Value: In July, the Greater Oshkosh Economic Development Corporation commissioned the completion of two appraisals on Lakeshore Golf Course. One appraisal, accomplished by Alliance Appraisal Group in Appleton, valued the 107-acre golf course at $1.76 million (or $16,449/acre). The second appraisal by Duesterbeck & Associates came in at $7.23 million (or $67,570/acre). The City proposes to sell approximately 35 acres of land to Oshkosh Corporation for $100,000/acre, a higher premium.

Incentives: First off, the City has identified innovative ways to finance public infrastructure improvements. The creative options include the commitment of a significant amount of dollars from the Revolving Loan Fund that Greater Oshkosh EDC manages to fill gaps in business project financing.

Otherwise, the City proposal offers Tax Increment Financing (TIF) as the chief local incentive, utilizing the taxes that would not be otherwise generated without this project. The City is not giving up any existing tax revenues to support this project, nor seeking new tax revenue from Oshkosh citizens.

Further, many elected officials prefer to utilize TIF for assisting projects that create well-paying jobs that would not happen “but for” the TIF help. Oshkosh Corporation fits the criteria perfectly, as this project will not happen in Oshkosh without this TIF incentive. These jobs represent some of the better-paying positions in Oshkosh. These types of jobs enhance the standard of living for residents here.

Next, let’s compare this deal with some other incentive deals within the Fox Valley.

  • In 2017, Community First Credit Union opened their new headquarters in the Village of Fox Crossing. The reported $25 million headquarters will be the home to 232 employees. The Village offered Community First incentives valued at over $5 million to relocate their headquarters from Appleton. The Village also supported public infrastructure costs. Source
  • Earlier this year, Secura Insurance announced their plans to build a brand new, 270,000 square-foot headquarters in the Village of Fox Crossing. Secura reportedly will spend a minimum of $60 million on the project. Fox Crossing’s committed incentive package was $15 million, or twenty-five percent of total project costs. The new headquarters will house over 500 employees. Source
  • In 2014, Schreiber Foods opened their new corporate headquarters in downtown Green Bay. The 260,000 square-foot building is the home to roughly 700 employees. In 2011, the City committed $14 million in assistance for the estimated $50 million project. Source

These offerings range from being comparable to considerably more lucrative than the current Oshkosh offer, yet none of these firms arguably possess the community and global value of Oshkosh Corporation. By not supporting this package, we turn our back on jobs produced by a high-value employer. Let’s choose to compete, because Oshkosh Corporation has delivered, both for us and in their competitive marketplace.

The Oshkosh community is behind you, Oshkosh Common Council. Thank you for considering a great deal for Oshkosh.

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About Author

Jason White

Jason White is the President & CEO of the Greater Oshkosh Economic Development Corporation. The organization is a public-private non-profit corporation focused on helping businesses grow, expand, and start in the greater Oshkosh region to create a more economically prosperous area.

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