Wal-Mart and drink distributor seek FW tax breaks

By A. Lee Graham Carolina Beverage Group LLC and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. are lining up to ask for tax breaks from the city of Fort Worth. Carolina Beverage wants a break to open a North Texas facility. Wal-Mart is seeking sales tax rebates on existing operations. The issues are set for discussion at the pre-council portion of the April 9 Fort Worth City Council meeting. Pre-council begins at 3 p.m., with the regular council meeting starting at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 1000 Throckmorton St. “They’re looking at a distribution facility in Fort Worth,” said Robert Sturns, the city’s economic development manager, referring to Carolina Beverage Group. Sturns declined to specify whether the Mooresville, N.C.-based beverage producer and packager is considering occupying an existing facility or construction new quarters. He also declined to outline details of the possible deal until Tuesday, allowing only that the location in question is in north Fort Worth. Carolina Beverage Group, whose website describes the company as “the go-to source for quality East Coast contract beverage production,” produces several ready-to-drink teas, fruit drinks and energy drinks. Also set for discussion at pre-council is an economic development program agreement with Wal-Mart Stores Inc., in which the company could reap sales tax revenue through a “380 agreement,” named after Chapter 380 of Texas local government code allowing rebates of future sales or property taxes. The deal would not involve a new Walmart Supercenter or Walmart Neighborhood Market, Sturns said. Both potential arrangements are up for discussion only and not for council action.   lgraham@bizpress.net