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Dunedin to consider $127,000 in tax breaks to Achieva Credit Union

DUNEDIN — City leaders tonight will consider granting $127,000 in tax breaks to Achieva Credit Union.

The waivers were proposed by the city's planning and economic development departments as part of efforts to sway the growing business early this year toward Dunedin as it looked to relocate its corporate headquarters away from Clearwater.

Achieva started remodeling a former Nielsen Media Research call center at 1659 Virginia St. in late September and expects to complete the first of three phases in late spring.

Under the proposed development agreement up for discussion tonight, Dunedin would:

• Waive $21,200 in building reviews, inspections and five years worth of business tax and licensing costs.

• Award Achieva matching grants of $5,000 for design assistance, $10,000 for demolition and $42,500 each in fiscal years 2013 and 2014 for facade improvements.

• Foot the $5,835 legal bill for drawing up the contract.

Funding for the incentives would come from the economic and housing development department's budget and reserves.

"Having Achieva call Dunedin home is a very powerful economic driver to the Dunedin community," department director Bob Ironsmith wrote in a memo to the City Commission, which will hold public hearings on this issue at its meetings tonight and Dec. 20. "Achieva will produce tangible income to the city, and also promote Dunedin to other companies and businesses that may be looking for a future home."

A city-ordered economic analysis by WTL+a consultants estimates Dunedin would recoup the cost of the breaks within four years.

That's based on projections that the $12 million relocation project will generate $3.24 million in income through 116 temporary construction jobs and more than $41,000 in annual property, intangible and retail sales taxes.

Ironsmith noted that Achieva is a five-star rated credit union with $1 billion in assets and about 140 corporate employees raking in an average salary of $60,000. The deal, he said, means increased exposure and employee spending in Dunedin and Pinellas County restaurants, stores, entertainment venues and possibly even homes — to the tune of an estimated $940,000 a year.

"This is a winner. We're getting a great return on investments," said Ironsmith, in the form of "a strong partner and a job creator and a revenue source for the city."

In addition to the incentives, officials said they also might consider Achieva's request to rename Virginia Street between State Road 580 and Keene Road to Achieva Way. The city would require support from all businesses and homeowners along the 0.8-mile stretch.

Keyonna Summers can be reached at (727) 445-4153 or ksummers@tampabay.com. To write a letter to the editor, go to tampabay.com/letters.

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City Commission meeting set for tonight

The Dunedin City Commission meets at 6:30 tonight at Dunedin City Hall, 542 Main St. Get a copy of the full agenda online at DunedinGov.com or at the City Clerk's Office, 750 Milwaukee Ave. Agenda items include:

• Second public hearing and final vote on design plans for Dunedin Eco Village, an affordable townhome project on Lorraine Leland Street.

• First of two public hearings on a Dollar General store proposed for 1326 San Christopher Drive.

• Consider contracts of $29,885 for replacement water heaters and of $25,000 for a replacement wheelchair lift at the baseball stadium.

Dunedin to consider $127,000 in tax breaks to Achieva Credit Union 12/05/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 4:59pm]

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