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The city launched a new economic development incentive program to attract businesses that will bring particular benefits.

The monetary lures — which include financial assistance, grants, loans, advancements, matches or forgiveness — could be used to offset financial, regulatory or physical impediments to high-quality private development, according to city documents.

The hooks will be offered to businesses that can meet two of several criteria, including creating at least 25 new full-time equivalent jobs equal to or exceeding the medium per capita income for Brentwood residents; generating $100,000 annually in new tax revenue for the city; occupying or leasing a vacant building or space that has been vacant for least six months; or constructing a new commercial or industrial building.

The city has set aside $1.4 million for the effort, made up of bond refinancing proceeds restricted for economic development use.

“Think of it as an investment that the city can make that will yield benefits down the road,” said Assistant City Manager Terrence Grindall.

The financial assistance could go toward an array of private development needs or requirements, such as building permits, inspections, infrastructure fees and public or off-site improvements mandated as a condition of project approval.

Direct financial assistance may also be given to a business or party engaged in a private development project or business activity, according to city documents.

The city manager or designee may execute deals of up to $100,000; all agreements beyond that require formal council approval.

Grindall noted that incentives are key tools used to invest in projects that will yield significant community benefits.

In Brentwood’s case, that means significant revenue-generating businesses or those generating high-quality jobs.

“We want to use these incentives to level the playing field,” Grindall said. “Our impact fees as a community are a little higher than surrounding neighborhoods, and we want the economic development staff to have another tool to help attract important businesses to our town that otherwise might go to a surrounding city.”

The council, which first directed program’s creation as a formal strategic initiative during the 2020/21–2021/22 operating budget cycle, applauded the finished product.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for our community — a great opportunity for the businesses that will jump on this opportunity for incentives,” said Councilmember Johnny Rodriguez. “It’s a win-win all the way around.”

Councilmember Claudette Staton agreed.

“I am excited about it,” she said. “I’m looking forward to having businesses move here to Brentwood. This is a tool to make that happen.”

Grindall noted that discussions are ongoing with businesses, including hotels that could put the incentives to use, but he didn’t divulge further details.

“We are hopeful we will be able to attract important tax-generating businesses with these funds,” he said.

For more information about the program, visit packet page 108 at https://bit.ly/3kov6yR.

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