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This page was printed from : https://www.palmcoastgov.com/council/mayors-message/2015/8

Message From The Mayor

Mayor Jon Netts

August 2015

If you've spent any time around local, county or state government, you've surely heard the term "Economic Development." Exactly what is economic development? Simply put, it's a series of strategies designed to promote investment in the local economy. Palm Coast has implemented a variety of strategies through our Prosperity 2021 plan (Business Assistance Center and sports tourism), and we are currently evaluating additional strategies for commercial attraction such as downtown and workforce development with our partners. But the strategies that seem to get the most attention and grab the most headlines are 'incentives'. So, how do incentives work?

One option is "up front" incentives. Hypothetically, if you'll build your factory in my community we'll give you $4 million dollars* toward the construction costs (all starred items are determined on a case-to-case basis). Or, we'll give you five* acres of land, or we'll build a $2 million dollar* "spec" building so you can move in more quickly. Obviously, incentives like these are very attractive to a business owner but they are not without risks. What if, after five years or so, the company decides to relocate or, even worse, what if the business fails?

Another option is "performance based" incentives. If your business creates ten* new jobs, each paying at least $50,000*,  we'll forgive *all or some* of your property taxes for the next five* years. The advantage of this type of incentive is that you're not spending dollars out-of-pocket; you're simply postponing the collection of new revenue. Or, if you build a corporate headquarters here that's worth at least $3 million*  we'll waive your impact fees. So, why not waive all impact fees for all new businesses? New businesses put more cars on our streets, more kids in our schools and more demands on our water and sewer utilities. If development doesn't pay for itself, the rest of us pick up the tab. It's important that each proposed economic incentive be evaluated on an individual basis to see if there is a real "return on investment."

Still another incentive is the community itself. If you have an attractive community, with good housing choices, quality schools, a variety of shopping opportunities, and an assortment of environmental, recreational and cultural amenities, the corporate CEO might just say: "This is where I want to live."

However, incentives are worthless unless the business decision-maker knows about them. This is why economic development must have an outreach component. Someone has to visit the trade shows to meet face-to-face with entrepreneurs, business owners and CEOs who are considering relocation. Someone has to work with site selectors (businesses that assist in corporate relocations) to be sure we are on their list of options. It's a complex undertaking.

Which brings me to my final point. As you read this, you may know of someone looking to open a business, to relocate a business or expand an existing one. If so, don't hesitate to contact the economic development team at the City or the County. We'd be proud to have you on our team!

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