The Virgin Islands Economic Development Commission reversed its January decision and has recommended to the governor that Air Ambulance Caribbean receive tax breaks. At its Tuesday meeting the commission also decided to reconsider its January decision concerning Carambola Zip Line and to recommend tax breaks for Protouch Communication, a call center.
Also Tramway Properties, which operates Skyride to Paradise Point on St. Thomas, received a recommendation for a five-year extension of its tax breaks, instead of the 10-year extension it requested. Margaritaville Vacation Club by Wyndham, however, did get the 10-year extension it requested. Margaritaville is to invest $40 million more into the resort during that time. Reportedly, the investment will be in the form of presidential suites.
The Protouch call center, which is to be operated 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, is required to hire a minimum of 12 employees in its first year and five more in its second year. The tax breaks which are to last 30 years are to include 90 percent off income tax and 100 percent off gross receipt and property taxes.
When Air Ambulance Caribbean’s request for tax breaks was denied at the January EDC meeting, it was reported that there were already two ambulance services on the islands and they were not receiving tax breaks. The commission made its decision to reconsider in executive session and did not explain why it had changed directions.
Carambola Zip Line was recommended in January for initial tax benefits for 30 years. Its requirements included an investment of $500,000 in infrastructure, employing 20 people, making annual charitable contributions of $15,000 and providing $7,000 for scholarships. What the commission decided Tuesday to reconsider was whether required number of employees could be dropped to 12.
When making recommendations to the governor, the EDC stipulates many actions to which the applicant must confirm. Besides hiring local residents, these may include that the firm offer retirement benefits, health insurance, give employees paid holidays or donate to charitable organizations.
The commission also discussed compliance matters for CI USVI, a financial trading company located on St. Thomas; Feddersen Design; and White Bay Group USVI, a trading firm with offices in Red Hook.
The Tuesday meeting was a continuation of Thursday’s meeting, which ended before final recommendations because its quorum was lost.