Manatee County to offer incentives for film productions

MANATEE -- The Manatee County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday unanimously passed a new film-incentive ordinance designed to attract production companies to film in the Bradenton area.

Incentives are available to companies with projects up to an Motion Picture Association of America rating of "R" and include cash or in-kind services beginning with any production expected to spend more than $250,000.

According to the ordinance, the calculation for cash incentives will be based on the approximate value of the project, including the number of days a production company would be using local hotels. The incentive would only be paid after the project is completed and will not be used as an upfront expense to the county.

In-kind incentives could include free filming at such facilities and amenities as beaches, parks, Port Manatee and area hospitals and the use of some county equipment and personnel.

The ordinance was sponsored by the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and creates the Manatee County Film Incentive Program. The project must be a feature film or television pilot or series and 90 percent of the production must be filmed within the county.

CVB Executive Director Elliot Falcione did not return a request for comment by press time.

In other matters, the commission also approved taking ownership of the Rubonia Community Center after the Manatee County School District agreed to quitclaim the property to the county.

Manatee County Administrator Ed Hunzeker said the next step will be to solicit potential users of the facilities before determining what, if any, expenses the county is willing to incur to ensure the building is ready to use.

"I'm not ready to recommend to invest money until we go through that solicitation process," said Hunzeker.

Mark Young, Herald urban affairs reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041 or follow him on Twitter @urbanmark2014.