|Brooks Resources Corporation is important to the Central Oregon economy as one of the oldest and most productive developers in the region. The 90-employee firm can trace its roots to 1916 to the Brooks-Scanlon lumber company, the principal business in town when lumber was king. And Brooks Resources wants to see a healthy economy and flourishing community.
The Oregon Department of Energy's Business Energy Tax Credit Pass-through Program interested Brooks Resources President Kirk Schueler and Chief Financial Officer Jade Mayer. They saw it as a way to help the Bend community and, in particular, St. Charles Medical Center, an important regional leader, and its employees.
The hospital contracted with Commute Options to manage their employee program that encourages alternative forms of transportation. Commute Options is a Central Oregon non-profit organization that works with employers to offer choices that reduce traffic congestion, promote livability and improve health. The approximately $17,000 yearly contract with Commute Options qualified for a Business Energy Tax Credit since the work promotes energy savings by reducing commuter trips.
But the non-profit hospital could not benefit from the tax credit because it had no Oregon tax liability. Brooks Resources could be the pass-through partner for St. Charles by paying 33.5 percent of the contract cost to St. Charles and assuming the 35 percent tax credit. The hospital and its employees would benefit and Brooks Resources would get some financial return in addition to goodwill.
"From our perspective, the financial risk was minimal if any," Schueler said. "There wasn't an exceptional return on your investment, but it was an easy vehicle. We looked at it as what's good for the community. It's not always about just the numbers."
"The Pass-through Option forms are good, the project is good and it's not hard to do," Schueler added. Since the Pass-through Option Program was approved, the Oregon Department of Energy has received nearly 300 qualifying projects from non-profits and public entities.
"Department of Energy staff will be happy to find a project for you and help with the paperwork," said Kathy King with the Department of Energy. "It can make a difference."