“We want to get the word out that Edmond is business-friendly,” says Janet Yowell, executive director of the Edmond Economic Development Authority.
The city of Edmond, the EEDA and Edmond Electric partnered to help businesses with stumbling blocks that might hinder them from growing, while adding jobs in Edmond at the same time. Yowell says the plan stems from a business navigator and review committee established in the city a few yeas ago.
“We can walk a company through the whole development process,” she says.
Companies that can tap into the economic growth incentive policy fall into two categories: The primary jobs category includes non-retail jobs that ideally create a product or service for use outside of the region; the secondary category covers retail businesses.
The assistance can include reimbursement of infrastructure costs and construction of public infrastructure to aid in a project’s development.
Yowell says the Edmond Quality Jobs Program is patterned after the Oklahoma Quality Jobs Program and is designed to offer assistance to businesses through a performance-based incentive plan that offers cash back for job creation.
To qualify, a company must create primary new jobs that achieve $750,000 in payroll and an average salary of $40,000 annually.
Once a company meets those goals, it may be eligible to receive a percentage of the new payroll on the anniversary for two years that the payroll is maintained. Some of the types of businesses targeted include software, back-office services, light manufacturing, and medical office and laboratory facilities.
“We’re taking this out to everybody,” Yowell says.
Edmond has received interest from companies looking to grow and others looking to move to Edmond. The city and the EEDA will evaluate each request on an individual basis and work to negotiate mutually beneficial contracts.
Edmond does not require as high a payroll for a company to participate. The state’s Quality Jobs Program provides quarterly cash payments up to 5% of new taxable payroll directly to a qualifying company for up to 10 years. Companies that qualify must have 75% out-of-state sales and a $2.5 million in new taxable payroll for any four consecutive quarters during their first 12 quarters in the program, according to the state Department of Commerce.
Don Hackler, spokesman for the Quality Jobs Program, says local communities can craft their own incentive program to lure companies to move or expand.
“It’s not unusual for local communities to develop their own incentive packages in addition to what the state can offer,” he says.
Rather than communities competing with the state program, Hackler says businesses can use both tools.
“Anything a community wants to do in addition wouldn’t impact a company’s ability to participate in the Quality Jobs Program,” he says.