You’ve been hearing about this plan for months–the plan behind Enterprise Flagler’s and the Flagler County Chamber of Commerce’s proposal to raise the county’s property tax and use the proceeds to build “industrial parks” as subsidized bait for new industry. For months, the plan couldn’t be published because it didn’t exist. Enterprise Flagler, the public-private economic development partnership funded mostly by Palm Coast and the county, convinced the Flagler County Commission to put the tax proposal on the November 2 ballot based on a concept: Build a large industrial building somewhere in the county, at taxpayers’ expense, and it’ll be incentive enough for a new firm to set up shop here, creating new jobs that would eventually help taxpayers by diversifying the tax base and lowering the county’s unemployment rate.
The commission agreed to put the initiative on the ballot, but without endorsing it. Most elected officials were somewhere between reserved and opposed to the plan because besides being nonexistent, what verbal shreds of it were being presented were too vague. So were key business groups without whose support passing a ballot initiative is made harder, such as the local home builders’ association.
Finally in the last few weeks, Enterprise Flagler put together a committee to craft a plan to back up the concept and start winning a few friends. (With some exceptions, the committee is a largely insular who’s who of the Flagler County Chamber of Commerce’s core members, plus Greg Rawls, the executive director of Enterprise Flagler. If you’re scoring at home, here are the committee members: Michael Chiumento, Gary Lubi, Donald O’Brien, Charlie Ericksen, Frank Meeker, Doug Baxter, Saul Caro, Winnie Costello, Patrick Kelly, Mark Langello, Glen Laury, Jim O’Connell and John Whelan.) The committee also relied on the work of Sandra Mullen, a consultant, and Cindy Dalecki, a marketing and social media specialist.
Last week, Rawls, Chiumento (an attorney) and Lubi (a bank executive) presented the plan to the Enterprise Flagler board. Though in draft form, Chiumento described it as 99 percent complete. (For an analysis of that presentation, read the “Sneak Preview of Enterprise Flagler’s Economic Tax ‘Game Plan.'”)
The plan is scheduled to be publicly unveiled Thursday, when the tax plan’s website, flaglersnewgameplan.com, launches. The plan begins with a claim to “full and transparent accountability.” Yet Enterprise Flagler itself denied a request for the written plan. FlaglerLive nevertheless obtained a copy of the plan outside of the agency.
The plan is presented below as written, uncut, preserving its original syntax and spelling. The final product, once unveiled, may be different than what’s presented below despite being termed 99 percent complete. The plan is being presented not as an endorsement, but as a matter of information, and to spur debate. The plan has been broken into four parts for ease of reading and navigation. The first part appears below.
Economic Development Initiative; a Job Creation Referendum
Accountability Benchmarks and Metrics are broken down into Activities to drive results and
Goals which will measure our level of success.
How the Money will be invested in, and reported to our Community:
- Full and transparent accountability
- These dollars will only be used toward economic development, and are not available for general funding purposes. 60% or more of the funding will be used to support infrastructure related costs, 30% (maximum) will be used to support incentives to attract new business, and retain or help expand existing businesses in Flagler County. The remaining 10% (maximum) shall be used to support marketing, and related administrative costs (i.e. market studies).
- An Annual Report that will be made by Enterprise Flagler to local County and City Councils addressing performance vs. goals, and providing a full financial report. Additionally, a monthly update report will also be provided to these councils.
Activities to Drive Results:
- Begin development of Class “A” Commerce Park by April 2011, to include a 50,000 Square Foot Facility with 25 Foot ceilings.
- Targeted industries to include Technology and Research related businesses in the Medical, Aviation, New Energy, and other growth industry fields.
- Site Selector Contacts (calls, mailings and emails) by Enterprise Flagler — minimum of 5 per month.
- Response rate to “Request for Proposal” (RFP) Requests — Respond within required time lines 100% of the time.
- Networking Benchmarks will be established as we work with key organizations throughout the state of Florida, and nationally as well (i.e. Cornerstone, Enterprise Florida, Central Florida Economic development organizations, trade organizations, etc.). Additionally, it is expected that Enterprise Flagler will maintain strong working relationships with National, State, County, and City Elected Officials.
- Enterprise Flagler will partner with Flagler County Schools, Daytona State College (including ATC), Workforce Development Center for Excellence, and support “Hire in Flagler”, to accelerate the delivery of highly effective job training and retraining programs designed to meet the needs of our employers.
Goals and Desired Outcomes:
- Create 1,000 new jobs by 2015, and 2,500 new jobs by 2021, above the median wage for Flagler County.
- Reduce our residential tax burden from 86% of our tax revenue to 75% by 2016 and to 70% by 2020.*
- In town Site Visits Generated via Site Selector Contacts with Prospects — Owner Operators less than 100 employees (15 per year), and 100+ employee companies (4 per year).
(*)A residential taxpayer consumes $1.18 of every tax dollar while a commercial/industrial
taxpayer consumes 280 of every tax dollar.
Wouldn’t you rather have commercial and industrial companies paying a larger percentage of the overall tax burden?
GET IN THE GAME!