Are incentives necessary to lure a company to St Johns County?

April 23, 2014 | By More

MELISSA GLASGOW

MELISSA GLASGOW

Historic City News continues to be informed that St Johns County’s administration, and their $91,511.13 a year Director of Economic Development, Melissa Glasgow, have been “earning their keep” from the economic impact generated by a couple of new businesses that they have been able to lure to town.

But not all the news is peaches and cream; especially the way St Johns County Commission Chairman Jay Morris and Commissioner Ron Sanchez would have you believe. Of course, both men are looking for re-election this year.

First of all, economic growth does not occur by creating government jobs — so construction jobs necessary to erect the new Health and Human Services building and the jobs for county employees at the facility after it opens, do not improve the St Johns County economy; they simply create an additional tax burden.

Secondly, you can’t take credit for something that was going to happen anyway or that occurred thanks to the encouragement of others at the state and national level; such as Northrop Grumman’s decision to name St Augustine as one of several “Aircraft Integration Centers of Excellence”, two of which are in Florida.

Also, businesses like iDeal Aluminum Products, reported earlier this month by Historic City News, is moving from Deland — but only because of being offered $159,560 in economic development incentives. The same was true with Advanced Disposal’s announcement in December. St Johns County had to top an $895,000 incentive package approved by the City of Jacksonville. Commissioner Ron Sanchez is the one who moved for approval of resolution 2012-346; an incentive package that included an economic development grant for the company.

And, of course, we hear little of the companies that went the other way — like Corr Digital, a specialty sign manufacturer started about 10 years ago in a 15,000-square-foot location near the World Golf Village north of St Augustine. On May 1, they will move into a 67,000-square-foot building off Phillips Highway in Jacksonville.

St Johns County will lose more than a dozen existing jobs, while the company will grow jobs for Duval County including specialists who help design the signs that cost about $75 per hour for artwork and $125 per hour for structural design.

In one published interview, an officer of the company was asked if there were any incentives that Jacksonville was pushing that St Johns County did not; to which he responded, “No. Actually, we hadn’t even considered it.”

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Category: Business

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