110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
By Joe Crews
posted Jun 25, 2014 - 10:09:42am
A political action committee has formed to promote DeLand’s tax-abatement program that is designed to help with economic-development efforts.
Called Jobs for DeLand PAC, the organization registered with the city clerk’s office June 19. The group wants to convince the city’s voters to extend the tax breaks for an additional 10 years, PAC Chairman Taver Cornett said.
Without a favorable vote, the program will expire in October 2015.
“It’s the only incentive under state law that the city has available,” Cornett said. “It’s part of a package that can be used along with state and county incentives.”
The PAC can campaign in favor of the program, but the city cannot, said Steve Burley, DeLand’s economic-development manager.
“As city employees, we cannot lobby for or against this issue – only present the facts,” Burley said.
Competition is fierce for attracting new businesses, Burley said, and often the city competes on a statewide or national level.
“Quite frankly, one of the few incentives the city can offer as an inducement when we are competing for a new plant or plant expansion is limited tax abatement,” he said. “By offering a cost-saving to businesses, this program has the potential to attract private-sector investment and job creation in DeLand that might otherwise not occur.”
The program allows the city to rebate part of certain property taxes owed by a company in exchange for creating new jobs. It applies only to the city’s portion of the property-tax bill. Only two other cities in Volusia County have similar programs, Burley said.
Jobs for DeLand members will be speaking to community groups, touting the program and answering questions, Cornett said.
A couple of recent success stories were due, at least in part, to the tax-abatement program, said Dale Arrington, DeLand’s assistant city manager and community-development director.
Electronics manufacturer Duraline moved to DeLand from New York because of the tax savings, she said. And, a package of city, county and state incentives convinced DaVita Labs to build a new facility in DeLand and create about 100 new jobs; the city has a “memorandum of understanding” that some tax abatements can be granted if certain milestones are met.
DeLand’s tax-abatement program has been in existence since 1995 and ends in October 2015. The state-mandated referendum on the Aug. 26 ballot will ask voters if they approve extending it for another 10 years.
DeLand chose to ask voters about the extension early because of already-scheduled elections, Arrington said.
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