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Commissioners Hear Bright Forecast on Economic Development and Tax Abatement


BRADENTON -- At Tuesday's Manatee County Commission Economic Work Session, Manatee County officials paraded their incentives for business expansion and relocation, project acceleration and fee mitigation, community redevelopment and encouragement zones, with one goal; bringing business to Manatee County. 

Director of Neighborhood Services, Cheri Coryea, and Karen Stewart, Economic Development Division Manager, say that to date, there are 62 active performances based projects with job creation incentives in Manatee County; 19 of which are currently inactive.

Stewart says the new jobs projected through 2021 stand at 3,260, adding that "an additional 302 will be retained." Stewart says the new jobs are expected to pay an average annual wage of $46,664, some 30 percent higher than Manatee County's average wage in 2012.

But success to their programs won't come easy, and if it does, it won't be cheap. To date, incentive investments approved total $6,725,585, plus an additional $1,063,200 from the state's Qualified Target Industry (QTI - tax refund), another $5,273,754 in Economic Development Incentive Grants, and $388,631 in Transportation Impact fee incentives.

The proposed capital investment these companies claim to be bringing to the county, they estimate to be over $460 million. Coryea says of the 62 active participants, 31 businesses are new to the area and another 31 are expanding and/or retaining employees that might otherwise be let go.

Coryea and Stewart were joined by Sharon Hillstrom, President and CEO of the Bradenton Area Economic Development Corporation (EDC) who said, "The incentives are tools for our economic tool box."

Commissioner DiSabatino asked Hillstrom how the businesses that have applied found their way to Manatee, and Hillstrom replied, "from the State's Department of Economic Opportunity (EDO)."

Hillstrom was also instrumental in the Manatee County referendum for a Tax Abatement Program that passed last June.

Deputy County Administrator Dan Schlandt said staff has worked with the County Attorney's Office to prepare a draft for the policy guidelines regarding eligibility for a tax abatement.

The Economic Development Incentives (EDI) are largely indexed to job creation and performances over a period of time. Tax Abatement (a reduced percentage in valorem tax over a stated period) will be determined by a scoring matrix.

Depending on their matrix score, companies in Manatee County can receive a tax return which ranges from 20 to 100 percent, for up to 10 years.

Companies approved for tax abatement by the board will not receive additional monetary EDI incentives from Manatee County except as part of a customized package.



Citizens Must Keep County Commissioners in Check on New Tax Abatement Tool

Published Sunday, June 23, 2013 12:10 am


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