Make us your home page

Hernando offers businesses dual incentives: room to grow and lower costs

For years, Mike McHugh has been Hernando County's rainmaker. Through good times and bad, it has been his job to attract jobs.

Now this rainmaker faces a drought. It's game time.

"I'm very much an optimist," he said. "There are still projects out there and people looking. Things are still happening, but it's taking much longer now. For companies looking to move (here), it might be a two-year process instead of six months."

The industrial parks at the Hernando County Airport continue to be a bright spot.

"It's getting it's own momentum," McHugh said. "We're over 2,000 employees — over 3,000 if you include government."

McHugh considers the airport to be one of the prime economic engines in the county.

For targeted industries, new incentives aimed at job creation, approved by the County Commission, are now on the books.

Many are aimed at jobs that pay an average wage of $13.35 an hour or more.

Other incentives are designed to defer and forgive building permit and impact fees.

"You have to be careful with incentives," McHugh said. "What we do is performance-based. We don't give money up front. You have to earn the incentive."

When county commissioners approved the program in October, some businesses expressed immediate interest, said Valerie Pianta, program coordinator for the county Office of Business Development.

"The incentives make us competitive against other counties and states," said McHugh.

During 2008, the county also got its first international project, with R&M Ship Tec from Germany deciding to open its first U.S. facility in Hernando.

R&M Ship Tec designs the interiors of high-end yachts, cruise ships and other cargo vessels. The company also hopes to add a training facility this year.

"We were in a multistate and multicounty competition," said McHugh. "We worked very hard for that."

Securing one international project helps pave the way for others, McHugh said.

Two other firms opted to relocate to the Hernando airport parks this past year. Chasco Machine and Manufacturing and Intrepid Machine, both high-tech businesses, were looking to expand. They found what they were looking for in Hernando: lower costs and room for growth.

As far as riding out the recession goes, McHugh thinks the county needs to persevere with the things it knows attract businesses to the region.

"You have to stay the course," he said. "We can't have short-term thinking."

Hernando offers businesses dual incentives: room to grow and lower costs 02/21/09 [Last modified: Saturday, February 21, 2009 10:17am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Walmart expands grocery delivery service to Tampa


    TAMPA — Walmart is expanding its grocery delivery service to Tampa, the company announced Monday. Five locations will offer delivery for online grocery orders.

    Walmart is expanding its grocery delivery to Tampa, the company announced Monday. | [Times file photo]
  2. Marina at Hudson Beach poised to become 24-unit condominium-hotel


    HUDSON — One of the mainstay businesses at Hudson Beach is poised for redevelopment into a 24-unit condominium-hotel.

    The owners of Skeleton Key Marina in Hudson have filed preliminary plans with Pasco County to redevelop the site into a 24-unit condominium-hotel.
  3. Have your say Tampa Bay on the region's future transit options

    Mass Transit

    TAMPA — It's time, yet again, for Tampa Bay residents to tell officials what kind of transit options they want for their region.

    The Cross-Bay Ferry docks at the Tampa Convention Center on its maiden voyage on Nov. 1, 2016. A regional premium transit study will determine whether a ferry, or other options such as express buses or light rail, would be a good addition to Tampa Bay. [SCOTT KEELER  |  Times]
  4. SOCom seeks civilian drone pilots to develop new technology through ThunderDrone


    TAMPA — For the last three years, Nicole Abbett has been using drones as part of her photography business, with clients like the city of Tampa and construction companies.

    Josh Newby, 31, Palm Harbor, of Tampa Drones fly's a drone in England Brothers park, Pinellas Park, 8/25/16. As drone popularity increases as a hobby and business, local governments are navigating a legal grey area- where, when, and how should drone flights be allowed?
  5. New apartment complex delivers unique floor plans


    RIVERVIEW — A new luxury apartment community has opened in the Progress Village area touting itself as a distinct living option just 10 miles from downtown Tampa.

    Alta at Magnolia Park dubs its new apartment community, that opened earlier this year in Riverview, a modern and distinct option for living just 10 miles from downtown Tampa.