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Last night at City Hall

Largo company gets tax break with pledge to create 30 jobs

City leaders Tuesday unanimously approved a tax break for a Largo manufacturer that expects to add 30 jobs.

Teresa Brydon, the city's economic development manager, sees the company's desire to expand in Largo as a glimmer of hope in a rough economy.

"It's coming in bits and pieces, but we're starting to eat away at the unemployment problem," Brydon said before the meeting.

The tax refund would be paid through the state's Qualified Target Industry incentives program, which aims to recruit businesses and retain expanding ones.

But at least one commissioner has an issue with the secrecy of the QTI process.

The name of the company was not disclosed because Florida law lets companies seeking these incentives request confidentially to protect against competition. Only three people on the city's management team, including Brydon, know the identity of the company.

"It just puts us in a precarious spot in relying on staff to come up with everything," said Commissioner Robert Murray.

Brydon, who has reviewed detailed information about the manufacturer, assured commissioners about the company.

"I truly believe that, in this case, this is an excellent expansion to an existing business," Brydon said.

The manufacturer is pledging an average salary of more than 150 percent above Pinellas County's average annual wage of $37,302. The new jobs would create about $1.73 million in annual payroll in the city.

The company would be eligible for a total tax refund of $120,000. Largo would be responsible for 10 percent, or a maximum of $12,000. Pinellas County agreed to match that amount Tuesday. The state would cover rest.

The manufacturer plans to spend $1.83 million in capital expenditures, which would generate about $7,036 each year in tangible personal property tax revenues.

The company would have three years to create 30 jobs and Largo would have six years to pay its portion.

"If they don't create all of those jobs," Brydon said, "they do not receive those dollars."

Largo company gets tax break with pledge to create 30 jobs 10/06/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 6, 2009 8:58pm]
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