Saturday, January 20, 2018
News Roundup

Zephyrhills looks to match county's business incentives

ZEPHYRHILLS — Businesses bringing new jobs into the city may soon qualify for the same incentives available in Pasco's unincorporated areas.

City Council members gave initial approval Monday to partnering with Pasco County to jointly reward job creation with financial benefits.

The county already offers qualifying businesses between $2,000 to $5,000 for each new job that pays at least $36,319; the higher the salary, the higher the incentive. If a business locates in a municipality, however, the county's incentive is reduced by half.

A partnership with the county means the city will make up the other half, up to $25,000, said City Manager Jim Drumm.

"This puts the city on more equal ground with the county to bring in more businesses," said Drumm, adding the city can opt out of paying the incentive on a project-by-project basis.

The money to pay the incentive would likely come from new taxes generated by the businesses, Drumm said. The council will hold its final vote on the proposed incentive program at its next meeting.

In other business, Mayor Steve Van Gorden gave an overview of the council's first job performance evaluation of Drumm, who took over as city manager in May 2011 following the resignation of Steve Spina.

On a scale of zero to five, with five being the best, the council gave Drumm an overall score of 4.05. They each rated him in areas of personal and professional skills, how well he supports the council, serves the citizens of Zephyrhills and supervises city operations.

Council members praised Drumm for his work on the recent city budget and annexations designed to straighten out areas with awkward boundary lines.

They suggested he work on improving employee morale, delegate more to department heads and become more visible in the community.

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