EDMOND — Council members this week adopted a policy that sets out incentives for retail owners who open a business in Edmond, or for local businesses that expand.
The incentive policy is a joint project with the Edmond Economic Development Authority. Officials said it will make Edmond competitive with other cities that are working to entice businesses.
“The policy gives general guidelines and the flexibility to review each application on a case-by-case basis,” City Manager Larry Stevens told members of the Capital Projects and Financing Task Force, who questioned whether a special tax for capital projects would be used to pay for the incentives.
Stevens and councilman Nick Massey, who spearheaded the development of the policy, assured task force members no 2000 capital project money would be used.
City officials this year budgeted $620,000 from the general fund sales tax money to the Edmond Economic Development Authority to be used for incentives.
Councilwoman Victoria Caldwell said the dedicated sales tax money could not be spent on the incentives.
The new policy is supported by the business community and Edmond Area Chamber of Commerce members.
The policy is divided into two parts. One section addresses business and retail in which economic assistance would be available to new and existing retail, commercial developers and owners who build or expand in target areas of the city.
Target areas are described as places that are underutilized, vacant and/or in danger of becoming blighted areas, or areas where there is a demonstrated need for additional retail or commercial development.
Retail and commercial businesses that will provide additional sales tax revenue to the city would be candidates for incentives.
The second incentive plans focuses on primary jobs — jobs that produce a product or service for use in or outside the Edmond area.
A qualified company must achieve $750,000 in new annualized payroll for new, full-time employees. Over a two-year period, employees' pay must average $40,000 a year.
“It is performance-based,” Stevens said. “They have to earn it before they get it. The key to this, it addresses existing businesses and new businesses.”