NEW POLICY ADOPTED TO ATTRACT LOCAL BUSINESSES
The EDC Board of Supervisors (BOS) has adopted a new policy aimed at helping the county attract businesses that can provide more good-paying local jobs. Called Policy J-7 for Economic Development Incentives it was created by the county’s CAO as authorized by the General Plan. The use of financial and procedural incentives is a common tool used by various jurisdictions seeking to improve and increase local economic conditions.
The policy would use public funds and rewards as encouragements to private companies that “benefit the greater public” and would be monitored. The policy suggests that “particular business sectors” be targeted and included examples such as “Advanced Manufacturing”, “Research and Development”, “Alternative Energy/Green Technology” and “Health and Wellness” sectors. “Advanced Manufacturing” was described more as to what it is not, rather than what it is! According to Jim Claybaugh, Economic and Business Relations Manager, “We’re not going after large old time manufacturing…it involves ‘high-value products’ and also may feature ‘green’ applications.”
Financial incentives being considered are sale tax reductions and deferred or reduced property taxes for a specific number of years. Other incentives include consideration of assistance with EDC’s permitting process and/or reduction of impact or permit fees.
Since good paying jobs in “clean” and “green energy” sectors are highly sought after by every jurisdiction across the country, one has to wonder if this area might also be willing to view any manufacturing firms as assets to the local economy. Historically such jobs filled a void in lower-to-moderate education levels with good salaries that supported many middle-class families. It might also be a good idea to remove the El Dorado Hills Business Park caps on the number of employees allowed in that location as well. Tracking available lands zoned for manufacturing ventures might also prove valuable to avoid undergoing an extensive rezone process.
Upon Board of Supervisors’ approval of J-7, as recommended by the Community Economic Development Advisory Committee (CEDAC), staff will now craft the details of the procedures that eventually will implement the policy.