New incentive guidelines to promote new jobs, businesses

The day after Paducah’s Mayor and City Commissioners approved new policies and guidelines for economic incentives, a local business celebrated an expansion. 

Systems Solutions broke ground on the site for its new headquarters which will house up to 60 additional employees.  President and CEO Tim Farmer said in their five or six years in the Commerce Park they’ve seen several other businesses set up shop.

“A lot of development in Western Kentucky moving out to this area where the new high school is just a couple miles down the road,” he said. “This is definitely an area you want to focus on.”

 Existing businesses is one area Scott Darnell, President of Paducah Economic Development wants to focus on. With the revised policies and guidelines, he said they can do that. 

“It’s as much about focusing on what’s in your community as it is about bringing businesses from outside into your community,” Darnell said. 

The policy has five key provisions:  1) it stimulates investment rather than compensating investment; 2) it’s performance-based; 3) it’s a baseline to start an honest two-way discussion and negotiation with both sides feeling good about the deal; 4) it’s flexible; and 5) it provides a framework to protect the public sector’s investment. 

According to the municipal order the project is a basic industry which either retains, brings new or expands income into the City. Retail is not eligible.

The project must meet the threshold and be qualified to receive state incentives. The proposed project must create at lease 10, full-time, new jobs and at a minimum, the beginning salary should not be less than 100% of the per capita income of McCracken County. The employer must provide at least 50% of the lowest cost health plan premium which is offered to employees which are considered full time according to the Affordable Care Act. At a minimum the company must make a capitol investment in land, buildings, leases, and equipment of at least $500,000 over two years. Finally, the project must meet at the city’s requirements for development. 

Darnell told Local 6, the policies give him a starting point and a good place to begin negotiations with a company. 

The municipal order also lists the various types of incentives that could be available and would be customized on a case-by-case basis.  The incentive categories include city grants, infrastructure improvements, tax credits, real property, property tax exemptions, tax increment financing, fee waiver, and expedited plan review.  The City Manager will review each proposal to determine if it meets the objectives of the city and that resources are available.  If incentives are to be offered, a development agreement then will be drafted for approval by the City Commission.

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