The Edmond Sun

January 15, 2013

Council OK's incentive policy for businesses

James Coburn
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — Each of the five City Council members approved the Edmond Economic Development Authority Incentive Policy this week.

EEDA has been working on an economic incentive package to increase sales tax revenue in the city. The City of Edmond will provide assistance to new and existing retail/commercial businesses seeking to expand within the city limits.

Items considered for reimbursement to a business owner or developer would include water, sewer and electric costs. These performance-based reimbursements would be available only to a company that creates retail sales, according to the program. Reimbursements would be made over a period of five years.

The policy also includes an Edmond Quality Jobs program that offers cash back for job creation. A company must achieve $750,000 in annualized payroll for new, full-time employees in a two-year period who make an average $40,000 annually. Once that threshold is reached, a company may be eligible to receive back a percentage of the new payroll on their anniversary date for the next two years as long as the payroll is maintained, the policy states.

“We could put together an agreement of what we would like to reimburse after the fact,” EEDA Executive Director Janet Yowell said Tuesday to the EEDA board of trustees.

This practice would be appropriate in under-utilized retail areas of the city or those areas that are in danger of becoming blighted, she said.

Yowell would become the go-to person in the city to explain the parameters of a customized plan for a potential business.

“We’re going to hit the things we know we’re lacking in,” she said, speaking of specialty retailers.

The Capital Projects and Financing Task Force will not be involved in the fund, said Nick Massey, city councilman. The city’s general fund will be the source of the incentive package, he said.

A marketing plan involving a mass mailing of postcards will begin for businesses to understand the policy, Yowell said.

“We will be visiting with landowners with land for available development for this — I-35 people and other big tracts of land — people that come to me and are willing to develop in the city, whether they are developers or retailers,” Yowell said. | 341-2121