Charlotte approves tax break for software company AvidXchange

The Charlotte City Council approved a tax break Monday night for AvidXchange, a software company that plans to expand and add 394 new jobs in the city over three years.

The tax break, known as a business investment grant, would refund the company 90 percent of its property taxes for five years based on how much it invests in the city. The combined city and county refund is expected to be $1.1 million, with the city’s portion totaling $408,705.

The council voted 10-1 to approve the grant, with Republican Kenny Smith voting no.

“We have trained companies to ask for money, even when they want to stay,” he said.

Mayor Pro Tem Michael Barnes, a Democrat, said he has struggled with the business investment grant program as well.

“But we are in an environment where we have to figure out how to compete,” Barnes said.

Ed Driggs, the only other Republican on the City Council, voted for the incentives. He said he didn’t think the cost to the city was too high.

Driggs said $200 a year for each job created is “a small price.”

The business investment grant program has been used to attract large employers such as Siemens and Chiquita Brands International. Council members have also used it for smaller projects, such as a new roller coaster and expansion at Carowinds, the amusement park.

AvidXchange, founded in 2000, currently has 206 employees in Charlotte. It works to automate bill-paying and invoicing for mid-sized companies.

The company said it will build a new 116,000-square-foot office and parking deck near the N.C. Music Factory, on the northwest corner of uptown. AvidXchange said it will spend $17.5 million on the new office and $2.7 million on new technology and equipment.

The city said the average wage for the new jobs will be $52,161. Officials also said the company considered expanding in Lancaster County, S.C.

AvidXchange is also receiving a $7.5 million state grant for the new jobs.