By LISA MACNEIL
The Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) voted unanimously via a roll-call vote at the June 8, 2021 meeting to adopt an ordinance for the Economic Development Investment Incentive Program (EDIIP). The ordinance will be Article III of Hernando County Code Chapter 11.5.
Presented by Economic Development Director Valerie Pianta, the program will provide grants to businesses identified as commercial projects that increase the tax base, provide employment opportunities and substantial capital investment. She gave examples of aerospace, manufacturing, distribution or logistics companies, back office operations, research and development, or any corporate relocations as qualifying industries.
Other industries may qualify and will be identified on a case-by-case basis, as long as they are increasing the ad valorem tax base and tangible tax base.
A scoring system will be used to determine eligibility for the grants. Items scored will be employment and job creation, wages, capital investment and tangible personal property investment. The applicant must create a minimum of 10 new jobs. An applicant must score 10 or above to be eligible for the program. The applicant will also be required to provide documentation of capital investment, employment, and wages.
The language in the ordinance states the program is “a mechanism by which Hernando County can provide grants to both new and existing businesses engaged in certain targeted industries to provide funding for capital investment in commercial projects, the completion of which will increase Hernando county ad valorem real property and personal property tax bases.”
There was no discussion of the ordinance during the meeting, however County Administrator Jeff Rogers commended Pianta’s work on the ordinance.
The grants will be paid annually upon proof of paid ad valorem tax and tangible personal property tax bills and confirmation by the Office of Economic Development that all other taxes and fees are current, and will require formal application to the Office of Economic Development and approval by the Board of County Commissioners.