Incentives deal to bring 60 jobs, $22 million investment to county

Economic Development Director, Leonard Sossamon and Economic Development Manager Valerie Pianta unveiled what has been a 4 year deal in the making on Tuesday Feb. 13. 2018. The pair have been in negotiations with “Project Diamond,” a major warehouse and logistics company.

According to Pianta the company has considered several sites in the county. They Intend to construct a 200,000 square foot warehouse on a 20 acre leased parcel at the airport and create at least 60 jobs with an average wage over $37,000. The construction of the 200,000 square foot facility represents a $22 million investment. Job creation will take place in three phases over a period of 7 years. The projected ad valorem property tax after construction is estimated at $330,000 per year. While an exact site at the airport has not yet been chosen, they are requesting the first right of refusal for an adjacent 20 acres as they see the potential for two facilities.

To get the company to commit, the county has put several incentives on the table, adding up to $817,000. When dealing with these companies, Pianta stated that she cautions them to be conservative in their estimations of job creation, since they must create 80% of what they commit to, or lose out on the incentives.

The county is offering a Jobs Creation Grant: $180,000 max (or $3000 per new job created) paid from FY 2020 through 2026 in phases as they create jobs.

Other incentives include:

Building Permit and Review Fees costing $92,000 will be deferred over 7 year period.
Impact Fee Deferral: $125,000; pursuant to county ordinance, the company will pay impact fees in excess of $50,000 and will submit for reimbursement over those fees annually for a period of seven (7) years.
Ground Lease Incentive: First 5 years of lease paid by county ($420,000). Payments will be made annually to the airport.
Rapid Response Permitting: According to the county, “Project Diamond will be assigned a Rapid Response Permitting Team (RRPT) that includes county administration, planning, building, zoning, fire, engineering, airport and economic development staff.”

County documentation specifies, “All incentives are performance based and require annual documentation. Impact Fees and Building Permit Fees require a financial surety in the form of Letter of Credit, Performance Bond or Promissory Note.”

Chairman Champion stated, “What I love about it, is that it pays for itself. That’s what the public needs to understand. A lot of people don’t like incentives, especially artificially bringing in business, (but) you can clearly see the numbers, especially with the ad valorem taxes and jobs.”

Commissioner Allocco remarked, “My hope is that you’ll be using local job and career boards to advertise these, so we can make sure as many of those residents who take those jobs are Hernando County residents. Obviously it’s pretty close to Pasco County. I’d like to make sure that as many of them are Hernando County residents as possible.”

The incentives agreement was passed unanimously.

Immediately following Project Diamond, job creation incentives for a long time Hernando County business was approved. Interconnect Cable Technologies (ICTC) is a full service manufacturer of custom wire harnesses, cable assemblies, printed circuit board assemblies and electronic box builds. They have been a tenant in good standing at the Brooksville -Tampa Bay Regional Airport since 1988. ICTC plans to expand their workforce by 15 over a 3 year period and requested to utilize the county’s Local Job Creation Incentive Program as they qualify as a “primary industry.” The average annual wage would be $32,614, which is currently 100% of the average annual wage in Hernando County.

The incentives include:
$2,000 per new job; maximum value - $30,000 paid over a seven (7) year period. (FY 2019-2025). All incentives are paid annually upon documentation of the new jobs and associated wages.

Again, the incentives are performance based.

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