If you build it, they will come. Or, if you give them their money back for building it, they will come and put down roots.
Stanton is looking at giving businesses money as an incentive to come to town. At least, in some cases a limited amount maxed at $3,000 as an improvements rebate. Also, the businessws needs to buy their building materials in Stanton.
Omar Dadabhoy, Stanton’s Community Development Director, has been working on a business retention and attraction program that the city can use to tempt businesses to come to or stay in Stanton.
Some of these ideas come from government programs, such as industrial development bonds that the city can take advantage of, while others have required some creativity on the part of city staff, such as a Stanton based fee deferral program for new businesses.
Dadabhoy outlined the programs and incentives at Tuesday’s city council meeting.
The city-based incentives start with the Business License Fee Waiver. This program would waive that fee for most types of businesses that establish in calendar year 2013.
So, starting in 2014, these businesses would pay the normal business license fees as established by the City Council.
The stimated loss to the General Fund in 2013 for this program is $19,344.
Then there is the Fee Deferral Program which would allow for the deferral of 45 percent of planning and building permit fees. The fees must then be paid over a three-year period.
Deferral items include conditional use permits, precise plans and minor precise plans of developments, tentative tract and parcel maps, building permit fees and building plan check fees.
The estimated loss to the general fund this fiscal year is $20,000.
However, council members pointed out that in the long run this could work in the city’s benefit for allowing new business to get their groundings.
“For now, I like it,” said Councilmember Brian Donahue, “This is very optimistic.”
Then there is the Improvement Rebate Program, which would give builders and those updating their buildings some money back. Upon completion of a construction project, this program reimburses building and planning permit fees equal to 45 percent of the dollars spent locally on construction related materials.
This includes seismic retrofitting, energy-saver upgrade, electric, roof and plumbing, façade and sign installment or repair and HVAC.
Cost to the General Fund would be $15,000 in the current fiscal year and $50,000 a year thereafter.
The government programs start with Industrial Development Bonds.
“These provide manufacturers with low-interest financing for capital expenditures [land acquisition, construction and renovation],” said Dadabhoy.
These bonds are issued through the State treasurer’s office and have no fiscal impact on the city at all.
The next in the lineup are EB 5 Funds, another government program, that fast tracks foreign nationals and their families to permanent residency for investing $1,000,000 in a given project or $500,000 if the investment is in a rural area or a community with a high unemployment rate.
This program requires no participation by the City and would have no impact on the General Fund.
After that Dadabhoy talked about HUB Zones, the Historically Underutilized Business Zones, program that helps small businesses gain preferential access to federal contracting opportunities. This as well has no impact on the Stanton budget and requires no work from the city.
Then there are Enterprise Zones, which is through the State of California, and targets economically distressed areas. This program provides incentives to encourage business investment and promote the creation of new jobs utilizing tax incentives and private sector market forces.
The catch is that the state is not accepting new applications at this time. When it is again, the city council will be notified.