If you read the headlines in 2006, the news read something like this "Palm Coast, one of the fastest growing cities" or "Palm Coast, record low unemployment of 4%." There was little or no talk about the need for economic development. Many residents were prospering from either the residential boom or the gains in their retirement accounts as the stock market continued upward. The recent headlines are much different.
Our unemployment hit a high of 17% in April of 2010. The residential sector hit rock bottom, the stock market hit a record low below 8,000, and the national/global economy was in a crisis. There is now very little argument about the need for growing our local economy and focusing on economic development. However, as always, there are a lot of opinions about how our community should go about economic development.
The City Council, as part of their annual goal setting, tasked the economic development team with developing a City Economic Development and Incentive Policy. This plan was developed to accomplish that goal and do the City's part in growing our local economy. As covered in the next chapter, there are many players in economic development, not just the City. This plan is not intended to address the many roles of those players, such as Enterprise Flagler, Flagler County, the Flagler County School District, etc. This plan is intended to outline the City's role in growing our local economy and achieving prosperity for our residents and businesses.