Company considering move to Manatee could receive more than $2 million in incentives

MANATEE -- Because Manatee County is competing with an out-of-state location, the state of Florida is working with the county to have a company locate its headquarters here. Through the Florida Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund Program, Manatee County is working with the state to provide incentives to "Project CASTAWAY." The county commission could pass a resolution on Tuesday approving the incentives.

The name and type of company are not released until the company decides to locate in the county, according to Karen Stewart, the county's economic development program manager.

The company, dubbed Project CASTAWAY, would create 200 jobs over the next five years and pay an average wage of $72,392, which is at least 200 percent of the 2013 Manatee County average annual wage, according to county documents.

The state Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund Program would provide incentives for the 200 jobs, with the state paying 80 percent of the incentive at $1.12 million and the county providing a local match of 20 percent, which is $280,000. The company could also receive a $600,000 Economic Development Incentive Grant should the promised jobs be created and $54,847 in a Transportation Impact Fee Incentive.

While local incentives are used when there is competition within the state, this state incentive is used when there is competition from outside of Florida, Stewart said.

"We have a number of QTIs in process now, so it is not

unusual," she said.

According to Enterprise Florida, a public-private partnership between Florida's business and government leaders, QTIs are available for companies that create high-wage jobs in targeted high value-added industries.

"This incentive includes refunds on corporate income, sales, ad valorem, intangible personal property, insurance premium and certain other taxes," the website states.

The company, if a pre-approved applicant, would receive tax refunds of $3,000 per net new Florida full-time equivalent job created and $6,000 in an Enterprise Zone or Rural Community, according to Enterprise Florida. If the business pays 150 percent of the average annual wage, they would receive an additional $1,000 per job and if they pay 200 percent, they would receive an additional $2,000 per job.

Also on Tuesday, the commission could approve a $147,000 Economic Development Incentive Program grant and a $61,896 Transportation Impact Fee Incentive for "Project SPUR." The company would locate its headquarters in Manatee County, creating 49 new jobs over the next five years, according to county documents.

Stewart said the incentives are performance-based and the companies do not receive the money until they prove they create the jobs and put the infrastructure in place.

State law allows the names of the companies that receive the incentives to be kept confidential until their plans for Manatee County are officially announced.

Claire Aronson, Manatee County reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7024 or at Follow her on Twitter @Claire_Aronson.