Cocoa Approves Economic Development Incentives

By  //  February 16, 2014

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for eligible new and expanding businesses

BREVARD COUNTY • COCOA, FLORIDA – The City Council of the City of Cocoa revised two economic development incentive programs and created a third to encourage new businesses to locate and existing businesses to expand their operations within the City.

Last week, the City Council approved three resolutions providing for economic development incentive and grant programs to be administered by the Office of Economic Development:

1) Economic Development Incentive (EDI) Fund, 2) Small Business Assistance Program, and 3) Ad Valorem Tax Abatement Program. The purpose and intent of economic development incentives is to remain competitive in attracting and retaining new business and industry to Cocoa thereby fostering job creation.

Henry Parrish

Henry Parrish

“As we continue to promote Cocoa as the ideal location for businesses and residents alike, our favorable economic incentive programs and business environment provides us a competitive edge in fostering new business and employment opportunities for our community,” says Cocoa’s Mayor Henry U. Parrish, III.

Last September, the Cocoa City Council appropriated funds in the 2014 Fiscal Year budget to create an Economic Development Incentive (EDI) Fund.

Under the EDI Fund, qualifying applicants could be eligible for grant funding through two concentrations: business development and the creation of new jobs, and utility-related activities.

The program eligibility for both concentrations is identical and the amount awarded to a business is determined primarily upon the number of new jobs created, the average annual salary of those new jobs created, and the amount of private capital investment.

The grant is performance-based and is awarded per new job created. The maximum amount of incentive to be claimed by an applicant is $50,000 for each concentration, or a total of $100,000 if the applicant qualifies for both.

The grant is performance-based and is awarded per new job created. The maximum amount of incentive to be claimed by an applicant is $50,000 for each concentration, or a total of $100,000 if the applicant qualifies for both.

Additionally, Cocoa City Council adopted a new resolution providing for changes to the Small Business Assistance Program (SBAP) authorized by Council in February 2003.

The intent and purpose of the Program is to provide matching grant funds to assist eligible new and expanding small businesses within the City with costs related to small-scale infrastructure projects and development fees.

The most recent resolution calls for changes to the Program to include providing matching grant funds to offset costs related to workforce skills and industry employee training, restricting the grant funds previously applied towards development fees to be used only for City-levied, non-utility related development impact fees, and provide eligibility for a developer whose improvements will create new jobs through attraction of new tenants/employers to the city.

MODIFICATIONS TO TAX ABATEMENT PROGRAM

The Cocoa City Council approved modifications to the City’s Ad Valorem Tax Abatement Program. Since 1995, the City of Cocoa has been authorized by Cocoa voters to grant ad valorem tax abatements to qualified new and expanding businesses within the City. Since adoption of the program by City Council, Cocoa voters have continued to support this economic development program in an effort to encourage business growth and development.

Since 1995, the City of Cocoa has been authorized by Cocoa voters to grant ad valorem tax abatements to qualified new and expanding businesses within the City.

City Council approved amending the former resolution to provide for changes to eligibility requirement and further streamline the approval process. In addition, eligible applicants applying for ad valorem tax abatements will now be evaluated and awarded an exemption using a sliding scale approach that is intended to graduate the applicant out of the Program as the business becomes more established.

For all three of the City’s economic development programs, additional consideration is provided for businesses located in the City’s Florida Enterprise Zone, HUBZone, and its two designated Florida Brownfields Areas.

Following the City of Cocoa’s recertification as a S.N.A.P. community by the Development Council of the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast and the certification as Open for Business by the Central Florida Partnership, the passing of these economic development incentive programs by City Council is a continuation of an on-going effort to increase Cocoa’s economic competitive advantage.

John Titkanich

John Titkanich

“While economic development incentives don’t make a bad deal good, they make a good deal better thus keeping Cocoa competitive within the Central Florida region,” said City Manager John Titkanich. “Economic incentives are an added tool for attracting and retaining new businesses to Cocoa, creating new job opportunities for our residents, and attracting private capital investment. These programs were designed to encourage business growth and expansion that will improve the overall tax base of the City and provide for a better quality of life for the residents of the Cocoa.”

For more information on economic development incentive programs offered by the City of Cocoa or for questions related to eligibility, please contact the City of Cocoa, Office of Economic Development.

OFFICE OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT RESPONSIBILITES

The mission of the Office of Economic Development is to strengthen and diversify the economy and expand the tax base, while enhancing the quality of life enjoyed by current residents, businesses and visitors alike.

The mission of the Office of Economic Development is to strengthen and diversify the economy and expand the tax base, while enhancing the quality of life enjoyed by current residents, businesses and visitors alike.

The mission of the Office of Economic Development is to strengthen and diversify the economy and expand the tax base, while enhancing the quality of life enjoyed by current residents, businesses and visitors alike.

Core Responsibilities of the Office Include:

• Promoting and marketing the City of Cocoa to prospective businesses, developers and targeted industry companies;
• Diversifying the local economy to provide employment options and opportunities for existing Cocoa residents;
• Manage the Brownfields Redevelopment Programs;
• Oversee Enterprise Zone incentives
• Support existing businesses through technical and financial assistance programs and services;
• Increase the tax base, land area and population of the City of Cocoa through annexations.

FOR MORE INFORMATION LOG ON TO COCOAFL.org


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