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Tax break approved, but Xerox still weighing options for call center

Zack Seward
Monroe County is chasing a call center run by a Xerox subsidiary. But despite a tax perk, Xerox might go elsewhere.

Monroe County's industrial development agency (COMIDA) approved a $271,000 sales tax exemption for Xerox Tuesday.

The goal: land a call center in Webster that could create 350 new jobs over the next three years.

But cementing the tax deal doesn't guarantee that Xerox will go ahead with the project.

"This is significant. It will play a role in our decision process," said Xerox spokesman Bill McKee. "However, we are still exploring where we will place that call center."

McKee says locations in Maine, Kentucky and other states are in also in the running. He says Xerox will build the call center "where it makes the most economic sense."

"Economic development 101"

COMIDA Executive Director Judy Seil says the incentive will hopefully tip the balance in Webster's favor.

"It's economic development 101 that you have to bid against other communities," says Seil. "Everybody's trying to put their best foot forward. So with [Xerox] having an approval in place, I think that helps us."

Seil says the economic benefit of the project far outweighs the cost of the incentive. The call center will generate an economic benefit of $14 million, according to COMIDA estimates.

"It's a 52-to-1 benefit-to-incentive ratio," Seil says.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) had sent a letter to Seil urging COMIDA to approve the tax incentive.

Customer care

The call center, run by Xerox subsidiary ACS, would provide customer support for a number of client companies, according to McKee. 

One example is Virgin Airlines. "When you call in to place your travel plans with Virgin Airlines, you're actually talking to ACS people," says McKee.

ACS operates 150 call centers around the world.

McKee did not provide average salary figures for the 350 jobs ACS plans to create.

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