ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT INVESTMENT POLICY May 2008

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1 ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT INVESTMENT POLICY May 2008 Cedar Rapids, a vibrant urban hometown a beacon for people and businesses invested in building a greater community for the next generation. 1.0 Background Publicly-funded investment by local communities to attract and retain economic development is a fact of life. Cedar Rapids began investing in economic development in 1980 through a 5-year industrial property tax exemption (Iowa Code 427.B). Over the last 12 years the City has taken on an increasingly aggressive role in economic development by adding Urban Renewal Areas (Iowa Code Chapter 403) and Urban Revitalization Tax Exemption Areas (Iowa Code Chapter 404) to provide local investment funding. These economic development tools provide tax increment and tax abatement incentives for economic development and related public improvements. To date, the City has invested over $49 million in economic development facilitating: $884 million in private investment in new facilities, equipment, and technology. Retention/creation of over 7,900 jobs with an annual payroll of over $241 million. Funding over $30 million in public improvements including streets, utility extensions, and recreation facilities. City officials continue to work with new economic development requests to ensure retention of existing businesses and attraction of new business and investment. In addition to the Industrial Property Tax Exemption, local economic development investments are provided through two locally administered programs using property taxes generated by new investment. Urban Renewal Tax Increment commonly referred to as TIF (Tax Increment Financing). In order to establish this funding program a specific area is designated as an Urban Renewal Area and property taxes generated by new development or renovations within the area may be used to provide economic development incentives. This program is primarily used for projects that create or retain jobs and may also be used for in-fill and/or mixed use residential projects. Urban Revitalization Tax Exemption provides an exemption from property tax for all or a portion of the value of new development or renovations on specific properties approved by the City Council. This program may be used for in-fill and/or mixed use residential projects. Partner agencies - including the Iowa Department of Economic Development, Kirkwood Community College workforce development, the Entrepreneurial Development Center, and Priority One provide programs and services to market and leverage local investments. It is Council s intent that the following Objectives/Criteria and Policies shall apply to all locally-funded incentive programs as applicable. It is recognized that each program will have its own unique elements and processing requirements established under the rules for that program. 1

2 All incentives will link to City Smart Growth expectations as reflected in the City of Cedar Rapids Smart Growth scorecard. Economic Development Project Objectives/Criteria The following objectives provide a framework for consideration of economic development incentives that work together to ensure both sound investment and quality results. It should be noted that the objectives are not stated in any order of priority. Objective 1: Facilitate significant and comprehensive investment in new and/or expanded facilities that will grow the tax base and provide a strong commitment to the community. Investment provides increased assessed value for the tax base and preparation for the future. Determination of significant and comprehensive investment is subjective in nature and will be based on the actual amount of total investment and the investment amount in relation to existing improvements. Projects that have a small impact to the tax base, or that can be quickly abandoned, should be avoided with respect to economic development incentives. A. Investment in durable and efficient new facilities in cases where the investment is within urbanized areas, such facilities should enhance the area and reduce potential blighting conditions, such as dilapidated structures. B. Investment in state-of-the-art technology including machinery/equipment, communications, computers, and renewable technologies. C. Investment in research/development to provide for improvements to processes and service as well as responding to changes in the marketplace. D. Facilities that make the most of limited public resources and build on public investments already made. E. Options that provide connectivity for alternative travel modes sited near existing transit and trail service to decrease dependency on the automobile, thus reducing traffic and encouraging walkability. F. Project character and design in keeping with surrounding architecture and designed on a human scale to increase social interaction, walking, and sense of community. G. Provides for connectivity to transportation systems and surrounding areas. Objective 2: Facilitate retention of existing as well as creation of new highquality jobs. Job retention/creation forms the basis of our local economy. Such jobs create new wealth that, in turn, buys local products/services, contributes to local causes, and helps stabilize and grow the population. A. Well-paid by local industry standards including salary and benefits using as a guide the current Linn County average wage for that type of job. 2

3 B. Creation of high skilled jobs with possible participation in local job-training programs. C. Provision for workforce diversity. D. Potential for job enhancements through promotion and expanded responsibilities. E. Enhancement and expansion of the community s workforce resources. F. Provision of in-fill and/or mixed use housing that is attainable by all segments of the workforce. Objective 3: Encourage diversification in economic development activities that adds value to the regional economy clusters and employment base. Diversity in economic activities, that includes a broad range of industries and work skills throughout, the region helps ensure a stable economy with less dependency on specific industries during economic cycles. A. Positive and complementary impact to existing businesses and area business clusters to a great extent there can be unanticipated benefits associated with related local business and services,as well as attraction of new industries. B. Opportunity to use area suppliers or industries especially diversification in agricultural product processing. C. Potential to attract similar new businesses or related industries. D. Provides a primary industry or business that adds new money to the economy. E. Creates new suppliers for emerging markets. Objective 4: Provide a long-term community benefit in return for the City s investment. It is important that the City s investment be returned to the community as a net benefit in the form of property tax revenues, enhanced quality of life, and growth in the local economy. These funds are necessary in order for the community to provide services and maintain a high level quality of life that will attract and retain a qualified workforce. It should also be recognized that a return on the community s investment may take some time to realize. However, the community should expect immediate benefits related to investment, payroll, work force development, and business community involvement. A. Projected reasonable timeline for use of public funds and provision for timely return of new property taxes to taxing entities at the conclusion of the incentive period B. Projected impact to growth in local economy based on investment, increased property taxes, annual payroll, and use of local suppliers/services. C. If requested by the City, a fiscal impact analysis (independently prepared under supervision of the City and paid for by the developer) evaluating the cost to provide City services compared to projected City revenues over a ten-year period after projected completion. D. Identification of indirect benefits related to community quality of life, reversal of blighting conditions and/or brownfields, and historic preservation. 3

4 Objective 5: Demonstration that the proposal is responsible development that will comply with all applicable City development requirements, sustainable development principles, and incorporating green building technology. It is important that the City s investment be used to further responsible development as reflected in the Cedar Rapids Comprehensive Plan, development standards, housing objectives, and sustainable development principles. A. Proposed development is consistent with the Cedar Rapids Comprehensive Plan development goals and objectives. B. Proposed development meets City of Cedar Rapids sustainable development expectations additional consideration shall be provided to projects located within brownfields, greyfields, and/or preserving historic assets. C. Protection of land with respect to environmentally sensitive areas, watersheds, and agricultural land needed for a viable quality of life. D. For projects that include housing, provision for a range of housing opportunities, including types of ownership, sizes, and prices. E. Development includes a mix of uses that creates a vibrant community where places to work, shop, live, and play are integrated. F. Proposed development incorporates green building technology and principles as identified by the U. S. Green Building Council s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System. General Policies for the Use of Locally Funded Incentives The appropriate and prudent use of public funds to provide incentives is a cornerstone to a successful economic development program that meets the objectives identified above. The City becomes a partner with the private sector to attract investment that increases the local tax base, as well as to preserve and expand the community s employment base. The following policies provide general guidance in considering use of tax increment and other public funding sources for economic development projects. It is recognized that each economic development project will have unique elements that should be considered with respect to the stated objectives and policies. The City shall document how, and to what extent, the project is consistent with these policies or any special circumstances that justify varying from the policies. Policy 1: City shall review and consider economic development proposals in a consistent and responsive manner. One of the most important elements that a community can bring to economic development negotiations is to have a demonstrated reputation as a consistent and responsive partner. In many cases, staff will be working with confidential proposals that are on a fast timeline. This requires that all parties be flexible and responsive. Staff will work with all parties including Priority One, the Iowa Department of Economic Development, and the business to provide information and guidance, subject to future City Council review and approval. 4

5 A. City staff must conduct all initial discussions and review potential participation options within established laws and City objectives. Such initial discussions may, or may not, result in a later formal proposal that will need to be approved by the City Council after full and open review. B. City Council will consider economic development proposals only after submittal of a formal proposal. C. Each project will have unique elements so the eventual approval of a project is not intended to set a precedent for approval or denial of another project. D. Early determination that the proposed project meets a public purpose, City objectives, and generates sufficient revenue to be self-supporting. Policy 2: City participation should only be provided to the extent demonstrated necessary for the project to be successful. It is recognized that economic development incentives can be a significant factor that allows a development, that meets City objectives, to proceed. However, such incentives should only be provided after analysis demonstrating that other investment, financing, and assistance sources have been included in the project pro forma or source/use of funds. Likewise, the experience and capability of the applicant is a strong indicator of project success. Information to be considered by the City includes: A. Identification of the level of the applicant s cash equity investment to demonstrate shared risk and commitment by the applicant. B. Review by staff of available economic development assistance programs at the local, state, and federal level information may be provided by the business and/or other sources and verified through staff investigation C. Review by staff of market or financial feasibility studies, appraisals, or other information that is typically used by private lenders for this type of project. D. Demonstrated ability to construct, maintain, and operate the proposed project based on past experience, general reputation, and credit history. E. Development pro forma, or other appropriate instrument, that the City s participation is at the lowest level possible in relation to private debt, equity financing, and use of other available economic development incentive programs. F. Consideration of the life cycle for the type of business under review to determine the duration and extent of City participation. Policy 3: City participation shall be provided on a pay as you go basis unless it is demonstrated that up front participation is critical for the success of the project. It is recognized the City s tax increment cash flow for most economic development projects will be 18 to 24 months after completion of related improvements. During this time any costs related to the City s participation will need to be funded from other sources such as TIF notes. The pay as you go approach allows the City to use revenue actually received to provide the economic development incentives. In the event that an up front approach is needed the City will calculate the economic development grant based on a Net Present Value at the expected interest rate (discount rate), the cost of up to 24 months of interest on the principal amount, and the cost of bond 5

6 issuance or loan fees. City participation may be based on a combination of pay as you go and up front incentives. Policy 4: City shall provide for the protection and accountability of the public investment. City participation should be protected based on the business being held to accountability standards including incentive clawback and look back provisions in the event that the business does not fulfill commitments required to qualify for such public investment. In effect, we must insure that the City gets what it bargained for. For tax increment funded projects, this is typically accomplished through an Agreement for Private Redevelopment (the Agreement ) between the business and City. In some cases, the Agreement may include other parties, such as a developer. The Agreement further states the City s responsibilities with respect to providing the economic development incentives. Elements to provide such protection and accountability include: A. Verification by the City staff that the investment and improvements have been completed prior to approving payment of economic development grants. This is typically accomplished through a Certificate of Completion approved by City Council. B. Annual certifications by the business and verification by City staff with respect to meeting job commitments, payment of property taxes, and maintenance of the improvements. This certification is the basis for payment of economic development incentives. C. Provision for reduction in pay as you go incentives for repayment of up front incentives in the event that the business does not meet commitments. D. Commitment by the business to maintain ownership and operate the proposed project during the Agreement term. The Agreement may include provision to allow transfer of the Agreement, subject to the new owner assuming the Agreement obligations and City Council approval. E. Provision for insurance coverage, or other acceptable assurance, for replacement of improvements used to secure City debt service for up front incentives provided to the business and/or public improvements. It should be noted that the business will be responsible to comply with requirements and performance standards related to the individual program used to provide that incentive. Application Requests for consideration of tax increment funded incentives will be submitted to the Department of Community Development. Requests for City assistance through Urban Renewal Tax Increment or other funding programs shall be filed on application forms and/or format as prescribed by the Department of Community Development. Applications shall be subject to an application fee as indicated below: Application Fee Urban Revitalization Tax Exemption $250 Agreement for Private Redevelopment $1,000 6

7 The City Council may amend said fee by adoption of a Resolution. 7

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