Incentives add jobs, boost economy

When Pasco County spends money from its Jobs and Economic Opportunity Trust Fund, it’s getting a healthy return on investment, according to David Engel, manager of the Pasco County Office of Economic Growth.

Engel recently gave the Pasco County Commission an update on the county’s primary incentive programs.

Between 2015 and 2025, the county expects to collect $60 million for its Jobs and Economic Opportunity Trust Fund, through its Penny for Pasco tax revenues. Those projections are based on a 3.5 percent annual increase, Engel said.

So far, the county has spent $22 million of those funds — on a variety of programs aimed at boosting job opportunities and increasing the county’s economy.

Programs include job skills programs and incentives for targeted industries that are investing in Pasco County and expanding the number of jobs in Pasco.

Industries that have received incentives include Touchpoint, Welbilt, Mettler Toledo and others, Engel said.

Job skills programs include AmSkills, the Pasco-Hernando Work Force Board and various programs through Pasco EDC, Engel said.

“For every (incentive) dollar that the board awards, we’ve gotten $10 back in gains to the county,” Engel said.

With the jobs creation incentive, which has been around since 2011, the Pasco County Commission, awards incentives to industries that create high-paying jobs. High-paying jobs are defined as jobs paying at least 115 percent of the median pay in Pasco County,

“This is one of our most highly successful programs. We’ve created almost 1,300 jobs since 2011. For every job we create, it costs the county around $3,800. We’ve look at other JCI programs across the state,” Engel said.

By comparison, the incentives cost $5,000 to $9,000 a job in other counties they looked at, Engel said.

Pasco’s return on investment in this program “is extremely high,” Engel said, noting for every dollar the county has spent, it has received $30 in benefit.

He also noted that the future is looking bright, too.

“Our pipeline is robust and growing,” Engel said.

The master-planned unit developments approved by the board, particularly along the State Road 54 corridor, are beginning to focus on their employment centers, the economic growth manager said.

“So, we have a number of big projects coming in, consisting of hundreds of thousands of square feet of Class A office buildings. Right now, we have three to four Class A office buildings we are processing for incentive awards now. We’ll make recommendations to the board of County Commissioners in the next several months,” he said.

Projected revenue: $59.65 million in the Jobs and Economic Opportunities Trust Fund, over the life of the Penny for Pasco (2015 to 2025), assuming a 3.5 percent annual increase.
Expenditures to date: $21.8 million, includes operating expenses
Encumbrances to date: $34.7 million: Board-approved awards, excludes operating expenses

Published April 24, 2019

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