Tuesday, January 16, 2018
News Roundup

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 [email protected] To write a letter to the editor, go to tampabay.com/letters.

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