There could be some big changes coming to how the City of Fort Worth grants business incentives.
At its Tuesday, Jan. 29 meeting, the City Council will consider the proposed changes and if approved, implementation will be effective immediately.
The new incentives are focused on the three goals of the Economic Development Strategic Plan for the City of Fort Worth that was unveiled in 2017strategic plan:
Establish Fort Worth’s competitive edge.
Become a hub for creative businesses.
Ensure community vitality.
The revised policies incorporate minimum investment levels, $25 million unless otherwise specified, and minimum wage requirements associated with the full-time positions. The minimum wage requirements are $43,992 unless otherwise specified. While the incentive policy will apply to the entire city, there are some target areas, such as the new Designated Investment Zones and Central Business District, where there may be some different policies.
Designated Investment Zones are the geographic area within the City containing those census tracts (1) that are eligible for community development block grants (CDBG), as defined and determined by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), meaning that fifty-one percent (51%) or more of residents have low-to-moderate incomes and (2i) those census tracts that have a poverty rate of 20% of higher. The Plan calls for the establishment of a new framework for granting business incentives.
Generally, there are two forms of incentives: Tax abatements and Economic Development Program Agreements (Chapter 380), which authorize municipalities to offer incentives through loans and grants of city funds or services to promote development and stimulate business and commercial activity.
One novel aspect of the new plan involves companies and research and development (R&D).
In a Fact Sheet provided about the new policy, the Economic Development Department said: “While we have found other states that focused on this, we have been unable to identify other cities specifically investing in R&D opportunities.”
R&D incentives would allow target industry applicants to be eligible to receive 380 Grants equal to a percentage of their Qualified Expenses relating to ongoing research and development activities that take place in the City of Fort Worth, according to the Fact Sheet.
To view the City of Fort Worth News Release: