Category Archives: Economic Development

Jobs and Economy Need to Have Priority in County Policy

For Immediate Release
Contact: David Anderson
302-734-0366
ANDERSON DECLARES JOBS AND ECONOMY TOP ISSUE IN LEVY COURT RACE—
NATIONAL SITUATION DEMANDS A MORE PROACTIVE LOCAL GOVERNMENT

At Thursday’s Kent County Federation’s of Republican Women’s meeting, David Anderson candidate for Levy Court will promote a jobs and prosperity agenda for Kent County.
David Anderson believes now is the time to make jobs and the economy a top priority of Kent County Government. Levy Court 3rd District. The current Levy Court is investing $73,000 in economic development. 2008 was $74,000. The 2007 investment was $1,600,000 in grants, land acquisition, and expenditures. A previous year was approximately $900,000. $700,000 was transferred from Economic Development to open space preservation.
The following is a synopsis of Mr. Anderson’s proposal– A Prosperity Agenda!
We need to be pro-business in order to be pro-jobs.  I would like to see our industrial-commercial areas become enterprise zones and international trade zones. We need to work with the chamber of commerce (CDCC) to take advantage of grants available to businesses which export overseas.  With the Internet and parcel post services, it is an easy proposition for more businesses than we think.  There are more than 360 federal economic development programs.  Let’s have a contest with the colleges to see who can come with the best way to tap them. 
 I would also like us to take advantage of alternative energy and science grants.  I would also like to see a tax credit to any business anywhere in the county which expands.  The new expansion portion should be exempt from higher taxes for three years.  I would love to see start ups get a one year tax holiday.  These ideas won’t cost us money but could bring us a real return.
We can also publish all of the available support programs for local and start up businesses.  Every non profit, institution or agency should be known through the county website and a booklet.
Instead of wasting money on lawsuits because we don’t follow state laws, lets build our economy.
My recommendation is to draft an incentive which piggybacks on a program like the SBA small business loan program that requires a business plan. It has a track record of being effective and not abused. For example, proposed legislation might be that if one starts or expands a business in Kent County and one qualified for a small business loan through the SBA program then the County will provide seed money grant each year for three years as long as your location remains Kent County, etc. The amount of seed money could be a percentage of wages paid to encourage job creation, a percentage of taxable income generated by the business, both, or taxpayer’s choice each year. This would inspire all types of business entities: sole-proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, and LLCs.
 I specifically note applicants must qualify for a SBA loan – not have received a SBA loan – because if a person doesn’t need to finance their business start-up/expansion they should not be ineligible. Other similar incentives may be available to entice larger businesses to the area by working with the State Economic Development Office.
What are we doing now?  We hired a professional firm which came up with some good ideas.  We shelved the study and cut the economic development budget to its lowest level in years.  When we need jobs the most, we made that the lowest priority. 

The meeting is sponsored by Kent County Republican Woman’s club. David Anderson will be one of the guest speakers at the monthly luncheon on September 25th at Maple Dale Country Club Dover. The luncheon starts at 11:30.
Mr. Anderson will gladly accommodate any press questions afterward or arrange interviews with any media unable to attend..
End

Advertisements

A Better Approach to Planning

When I listen to the land management debate, I wonder why the real issues are often mentioned only in passing.  We are in danger of becoming a bedroom community not a vibrant self-sustaining one.   In Kent county, most people can no longer afford to live here on the wages paid.  According to the housing report, most people are being stretched by rent and mortgages beyond what they can comfortably afford.  High energy costs make commuting  to find a better job an unproductive option for many.  Stagnant wages, high energy costs, and a lack of affordable housing have created an iron triangle of despair for many people. 

To answer this we need to begin with a smarter, fairer approach to land management.  It should meet these three objectives:  reviving our towns and cities, providing a diversity of housing stock, and promoting a vibrant business environment.  It needs to respect property rights and be environmentally and culturally sustainable.

First, I wonder why we need to build town centers where there is no town.   It is almost like the Democrat majority in Kent county is trying to dump all of the growth in areas still represented by Republicans; political gamesmanship is not leadership.  That doesn’t seem like real change to the CR district and does nothing to alleviate the traffic issues about which everyone around Dover complains. The idea has merit if it is connected to town growth plans and can connect to town services.  The county needs to cooperate with the towns not build new towns.

Second, we need implement a Transfer of Development bank and institute a system where people can easily sale or trade TDR’s.  If someone wants to sell their development rights, not even the county can tell them for sure what to do.  I spoke with someone who did three different deals and each one had different rules, all in the same year.  The worse part is that it was becoming harder not easier.  If you want to control growth, let people make money off of keeping their property rural.  It is the best way to fairly compensate people for choosing to preserve their property.  It won’t work unless it is a market commodity.  Ideally, the TDR’s should also be able to be used in the towns to facilitate Traditional neighborhood design plans and giving developers matching tax credits to rehabilitate housing.  We don’t need to devalue property and place unheard of restrictions on people.

Third, we need to implement a traditional neighborhood design as a development option.  In my view it should be available in all areas and be encouraged not subjected to higher scrutiny.  It would provide a mix of housing, allow churches, medical offices, smaller stores, and other businesses not high traffic to be in an area.  It would allow a landowner and developer to make a greater profit offering some affordable housing while bringing good local jobs where people live.  That is good environmental policy, and economic policy.  The bedroom community mandates have failed.  Let’s try something different.  Let’s give people more choices.  History shows that choice works better than mandates.

Fourth, we need to be pro-business in order to be pro-jobs.  I would like to see our industrial-commercial areas become enterprise zones and international trade zones. We need to work with the chamber of commerce (CDCC) to take advantage of grants available to businesses which export overseas.  With the Internet and parcel post services, it is an easy proposition for more businesses than we think.  There are more than 360 federal economic development programs.  Let’s have a contest with the colleges to see who can come with the best way to tap them.  I would also like us to take advantage of alternative energy and science grants.  I would also like to see a tax credit to any business anywhere in the county which expands.  The new expansion portion should be exempt from higher taxes for three years.  I would love to see start ups get a one year tax holiday.  These ideas won’t cost us money but could bring us a real return.

Fifth, we need to continue cooperation with the cities to coordinate economic development and not work contrary to one another.  The county should ensure that it plans proper infrastructure for industrial parks like the Garrison Farm.  If you don’t build it, they won’t come.  That was even true in the “Field of Dreams”.  Impact and adequate facility related fees should go into a trust fund used to for that purpose and not into the general fund.

What we are attempting to do in the Livable Delaware and the proposed Kent County Comprehensive plan hasn’t worked well for the average person and often fails at its stated goals anywhere I can find.   So why not try something smarter?  We need smart change.  

Kent County Should Utilize Cooperation to Save Our Tax Money

Kent county is facing some tough decisions. We have a new comprehensive plan. We are looking at new library facilities. We want to build new parks. We are grappling with whether to save a new civic center proposal. Crime is showing up in our county not just our towns.

I think we also need to look around us and use these opportunities to bring more economic prosperity to our county. We are third out of three in many economic measurements in this state. We need to change that sooner than soon.

The problems we face need cooperation with other interested parties to solve them. The go it alone approach by the current majority in council is showing an appalling lack of leadership. Don’t mistake me. These are good people with fine intentions. I am questioning their planning and execution.

I have seen time and time again where the city of Dover has begged for county cooperation in shared objectives only to see the county take a half hearted approach. It appears that the other towns don’t get any more cooperation. This costs us money. Why is the county going to spend millions to build a park just up the road from the Pitt Center? If the party is going to enhance a park, why wouldn’t it do it in cooperation with Smyrna? The county could use federal money by combining a recreational facility with a library facility and get have a partnership to run it with a growing town. The objective of a Northern Library could be achieved along with a new park with limited county money. With proper cooperation we could use several pots of money instead of draining our surplus. I haven’t seen enough creative thinking, just a lot of costly duplication.

What could we do with the money saved? We could expand our economic base. The money we save on the park could be used to expand the county’s share on the Civic Center. The civic center is being rumored to go to Middletown if we don’t get off the dime.  That would be a bad deal for taxpayers because we will eventually be stuck with subsidising a DelState arena and a civic center somewhere in the state. The economic benefits we will receive are real. The question is not whether or not we are going to spend the money in this state? The real question is are we going to spend it efficiently in with a self sustaining facility. I can see it working best combining the University and the public interest. In that way, we will not have to subsidize the operations. It will stand on its own merit. Not many communities can build a center with as much non-public funding as we can. It is foolish to give up on it for projects which cost the same but have no economic benefit. Fortunately, tight budgets in the state government may give us another year to get our act together.

These are just two of the areas we need someone to show leadership in.

Dover based Civic Center report raises Concerns

http://www.cityofdover.com/media/packets/01-14-2008%20Council%20PACKET.pdf

The business people on the McGinnis Committee were not buying, but they weren’t selling either. They were not impressed with the marketing budget and were not convinced the hockey team would stick around. The believed that the center will be built and this is likely the best way to build it. They wanted assurances in writing not just verbally that city taxpayers had no future liability. They were concerned about the county’s financing scheme imposed by the state. It would be funded by an hotel room tax of 6% in addition to the 8% already imposed by the state for tourism projects. They recommended a small increase statewide instead of .83%. Traditionally, tourism projects such as the Sussex beach replenishment are funded statewide and not locally. This has been opposed by the state hotel industry off the bat.

Other critics have called for it to be completely funded by private sources even if the county serves as a conduit for the bond. “If you can justify to a bond investor that the project is good enough to float a bond on, then do it and pay back the bond note”, said Delaware Taxpayer Coalition Leader Dave Burris. Global Spectrum, the consulting firm which manages 67 facilities across the nation, says it will pay for operations and maintenance, but will not make enough to cover debt service.

Delaware State University has announced that they will proceed with a new arena regardless of the outcome. It remains curious why they won’t come up with more money in exchange for part ownership. Nonetheless this means that taxpayers may eventually have to come up with more money than with the majority privately funded Delaware Civic Center.

It remains a controversial issue. What are your thoughts? It seems the committee appointed to give answers has given us more questions.