Excerpt from December 6, 2006 Minutes

Create Economic Development / Job Creation Opportunity Fund

 

Mr. Boyd said he would like the Board to take a first step toward creating an Economic

Development/Job Creation Opportunity Fund that could be used to address underemployment. He suggested using the $200,000 that was set aside for, but not used, for additional retiree benefits. He also suggested adding an additional $50,000 to the fund. He said the fund could be replenished with increased revenues.

 

Mr. Boyd then moved that the Board create a line item (Economic Opportunity Fund) in the budget and move the $200,000 previously earmarked for benefits for retired employees, to be used as an Economic Development and Job Creation Fund, and to direct the County Executive to increase that fund by another $50,000 during the budget process, to bring the total to $250,000.

 

Ms. Thomas said the Fiscal Impact Committee has determined that bringing jobs into this

community has an impact on infrastructure and a negative impact on the communityís fiscal health. Until thereís a study done showing something has changed in the community and the community is not in a situation where bringing in new jobs simply increases the tax burden on everybody whoís already here (she thinks this is a popular sort of knee-jerk reaction to a situation that all evidence shows the community is not in), she does not think the Board needs to spend taxpayer dollars to entice jobs into this community.

 

Mr. Boyd said part of this initiative would relate to what types of businesses are desired for the County. He thinks the creation of good-paying jobs is a good expenditure of taxpayer dollars.

 

Ms. Thomas said thereís no evidence salaries are raised by this, and people donít find themselves to be upwardly mobile.

 

Mr. Dorrier said the community suffers from underemployment. Twenty percent of the population is at or below 200 percent of the poverty level. He thinks a small amount of money can be used for specific businesses that members of this Board think are good for the community.

 

Mr. Rooker said if this was an area with high unemployment Ė such as Southwest Virginia Ė he would support this suggestion. But the Charlottesville/Albemarle community has about a two percent unemployment rate with large employers planning to add thousands of jobs in the coming years. In that climate, he does not think itís wise to be spending taxpayer dollars to stimulate growth. Private entities are actively courting businesses to buy their land and locate in this community. The community is investing in maintaining and improving its quality of life in light of the growth that is already occurring. If this suggestion moves forward, he hopes the money is spent in a targeted fashion to make sure it accomplishes its objectives. If the objective is to improve wages, conditions should be put on use of that money to be sure how itís spent. If this goes forward the Board should establish some criteria about how that money will be spent.

 

Mr. Boyd agreed the money should be carefully spent to develop internal jobs; providing better paying jobs is a quality of life issue.

 

Mr. Wyant said he would like for companies to hire locally. How these funds are used is critical, for things like training, etc., so local employees are skilled enough to take these jobs.

 

Mr. Slutzky said he is comfortable with supporting the fund, but heís not sure he would be

comfortable deciding on those variables right now. He would want the employment invested in to be hiring local people instead of bringing new families in. He thinks itís a productive idea.

 

Mr. Davis said the effect of the motion would be to create this fund, and every year it could be a budget decision as to how the money was allocated that year.


 

 

Mr. Boyd moved to create a line-item in the budget for this purpose using the existing retirement funds of $200,000 and that another $50,000 be moved into the fund next year. The motion was seconded by Mr. Dorrier.

 

Roll was called, and the motion carried by the following recorded vote:

 

AYES: Mr. Wyant, Mr. Boyd, Mr. Dorrier and Mr. Slutzky.

NAYS: Mr. Rooker and Ms. Thomas.

 

 

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