Flagler Commission Considers Economic Development Incentives

Flagler Commission Considers Economic Development Incentives

Looking to increase economic vitality, increase non-residential property tax burdens and stay competitive with neighboring communities, Flagler County Commissioners were briefed earlier this month on a variety of economic development incentives the county could offer to attract and retain new business development.

The discussion began with a presentation from Amy Lukasik, county tourism director, and featured a list of nine incentive ideas for commissioners to consider.

“Incentives can be a catalyst for economic development by providing various forms of direct and indirect financial support to businesses,” according to a staff report prepared for the workshop discussion. “In return, governments that provide such support expect that the businesses will reciprocate by creating jobs and making investments in infrastructure, facilities and equipment that will ultimately enhance the local economic climate.”

“This is something we’ve talked about,” Lukasik said, adding that the county has been focused on economic vitality and diversifying the tax base.

The list of nine incentives available to the county to promote economic development includes fast-track permitting, ad valorem tax abatements, tangible personal property abatements, a wage incentive grant, recaptured enhanced value grant, an impact fee grant program, public/private partnership to develop a light industrial park, use of industrial development revenue bonds and creation of an industrial development authority.

“Some of them are low-hanging fruit,” said Commission Chairman Andy Dance. “Some of them are more quickly approachable than others.”

Commissioner David Sullivan said it would be helpful to have examples of incentive programs from other counties.

“What did they do specifically to use some of these incentives?” he said. “What kind of businesses did they incentivize?”

The fast-track permitting idea got support from Commissioner Donald O’Brien.

“I think that’s something we should implement,” he said.

O’Brien was less enthusiastic about the idea of creating an industrial park.

“I’m not a fan of partnering on the public/private light industrial park unless we had a rock-solid prospect that came to us,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to buy land on speculation we could do it later.”

During the public comment period, Greg Blose, president and CEO at the Palm Coast Flagler Regional Chamber of Commerce, offered the chamber support for the incentives.

“We have had the opportunity to sit down with staff and talk about the incentives that are before you today,” he said. “I’m really glad to hear about the industrial development authority and the industrial revenue bonds. We think that solves an actual problem and creates an opportunity.”

County staff will bring back several of the options to the Commission for further discussion at a future meeting.