New Smyrna Beach Aims for Economic Development

New Smyrna Beach Aims for Economic Development

Diversifying the tax base is a common theme of economic development efforts everywhere, and New Smyrna Beach is no exception.

The city’s Economic Development Task Force recently held its first meeting and members are ready to get to work, according to a report on the city’s website.

“Residential property taxes currently fund approximately 80% of our city budget,” said Christopher Edwards, New Smyrna Beach director of economic development & community redevelopment, in the report. “Attracting new businesses with shovel-ready sites, property improvement grants, and cooperative regional partnerships has to be a top priority if we’re going to take that burden off our residents’ backs.” 

The Task Force is comprised of five city residents appointed by the City Commission focused on diversifying the city’s economy and taking the burden off of residential property taxpayers.

“I think the thing that struck me once I get here was just how expensive the property taxes are,” said member Richard Chambers. “I felt like I might be able to contribute to the conversation of how you grow the commercial and industrial tax base because I know that’s the only hope for relief in terms of property taxes in this community.”

Member John Joaquin said growth requires the city to find ways to balance development and quality of life issues.

“I think keeping kids in small towns is important and having that path is an important thing. I come from the tech industry where a lot of us work remote and love to live on the beach and work online, so maybe there’s an opportunity to get some more tech out here as well,” he said in the report.

Member Jesus Romero also addressed concerns about growth and development.

“It’s going to happen no matter what people say. No matter what happens, it’s going to happen,” he said. “It’s coming because there’s land, and developers want to do what they do with it. But if we can usher in a way to take some of that land for business, I think that’s a great idea. Together, I feel we have enough brain power on here to guide in some way a discussion into that.”

Member Charles Tagman envisions New Smyrna Beach as a place where professional services can grow.

“We don’t have professional buildings,” he said. “Every time you have anything whether it be banking or a lawyer, you’ve got to go to Daytona, and I’d like to see some of that come south.”