By Fernando Alcantara/Garden Grove Journal
Staff members were tasked with the mission during the March 13 meeting and presented 10 programs Tuesday night to the city council.
Of the 10 programs, four were designed to have no effect on the general fund while the remaining six threatened to make a dent in the city’s wallet.
City council members quickly agreed: anything that was cost-effective and easy to implement should be acted on immediately.
“We’ve come to the reality that we don’t really have money to provide economic incentive at this time,” Mayor Pro Tem David Shawver said. “We don’t have the money, staffing or the time. Take some of these suggestions, look at the programs that don’t cost money or time, and implement them now.”
Of the four programs that would cost Stanton nothing, the city council liked three: Industrial Developmental Bonds, EB5 Funds and HUB Zones.
The Industrial Development Bonds would provide manufacturing and processing companies low-cost, low-interest financing for capital expenditures which are defined as land-acquisition, building construction, building renovation and the purchase of machinery and equipment.
Industrial Development Bonds would help to bring manufacturing plants and or industrial businesses into the city.
The Immigrant Investor Program, also known as EB5, is a federal program that would assist foreign nationals and their families and fast track them to becoming permanent residents in exchange for investing $1 million on a project or $500,000 if the investment is in a community with a high unemployment rate.
This program is especially desirable by the city for it’s non-participation required by the city and its zero impact on the general fund.
Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUB) helps small businesses in urban and rural communities gain preferential access to federal programs. Small businesses in Stanton, were they to build their staff from persons living in a HUB Zone, would receive those preferences.
Other programs that city council liked were the waiving of business license fees and the implementation of a tax-free shopping day in the city.
Mayor Carol Warren suggested packaging several programs and creating prerequisites for businesses, allowing smaller businesses to benefit from packages that would include business licensing fees.
“We want new businesses [to start in Stanton],” Council member Brian Donahue said. “If I heard that Stanton was going to waive the fees, I would seriously consider [coming to Stanton]. The money that we lose is not really lost because we don’t have that money to begin with; it’s potential money, and by giving [businesses] the incentive to come here, eventually, it will make money.”
City staff will be packaging the new program agreements into tiers and prepare to present them during the May 8 city council meeting.