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Manufacturer expected to bring almost 200 jobs

The Largo City Commission on Tuesday approved a tax break for a new business that is expected to bring nearly 200 full-time jobs and generate several million dollars in economic development.

By a 6-1 vote Tuesday, the commission granted the tax break under the Qualified Target Industry (QTI) tax refund program, a state incentive program designed to lure new businesses.

Commissioner Mary Black was the lone dissenter.

The name of the company was not disclosed. However, according to city documents, it is an existing international manufacturer of aircraft parts and auxiliary equipment that is proposing to relocate its U.S. headquarters to a Largo facility.

The company is planning an expansion and will create 189 new full-time positions with an annual average salary of $41,799.

QTI is an incentive program administered through the state that allows Florida communities to encourage job growth. The program provides tax refunds for each new job created in new or expanding businesses.

The tax refund requested by the company is $3,000 per job, for a total of $567,000. The state requires 20 percent of the tax refund come from local governments.

Largo will provide 10 percent, for a maximum of $56,700 over six years. Pinellas County has agreed to match that amount.

The company is expected to move into 160,000 square feet of existing manufacturing space and will spend $9-million in capital expenditures, which will generate approximately $38,482 annually in tangible personal property tax revenues for Largo.

During the meeting, Commissioner Robert Murray asked if there was a way to ensure the state was monitoring the number of new employees. He was told the company would only receive the QTI tax refund after it has documented the required job creation and made state tax payments.

Also at Tuesday's meeting:

• Commissioners moved forward with a proposal to increase city fees in an effort to offset Amendment 1, which gave homeowners tax breaks and put new limits on local governments.

The proposed increases include a variety of services, from doubling the cost for fingerprinting from $3 to $6 to a suggested increase from $25 to $35 for indebtedness property title searches.

A public hearing on the proposal is scheduled for July 1.

• Library Director Casey McPhee recommended reducing city library hours from 69 to 63 hours a week.

Under the new schedule, libraries will close at 8 p.m. instead of 9 p.m. Monday through Wednesday. On Thursdays, city libraries will close at 6 p.m. instead of 9 p.m.

Library hours will remain the same Saturdays (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and Sundays (1 to 5 p.m.).

The change starts Sept. 2.

The move is in response to the loss of eight full-time positions over the past two fiscal years.

"I hate it, but I understand," Mayor Pat Gerard said of the new hours.

Demorris A. Lee can be reached at dalee@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4174.

Fast facts

Tax refund request by the company:

$567,000

Largo's share:

$56,700 over six years, maximum. It is the same as the county's share.

Manufacturer expected to bring almost 200 jobs 06/17/08 [Last modified: Thursday, June 19, 2008 5:56pm]

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