The State of Nevada through the Governor’s office of Economic Development offers a variety of incentives to help qualifying companies make the decision to do business in the state, including sales tax abatements on capital equipment purchases, sales and use tax deferral on capital equipment purchases, abatements on personal and modified business taxes, real property tax abatements for recycling, assistance with the cost of intellectual property development and employee training grants. However, local entities are very limited in the types and amounts of incentives they can offer. Mesquite is no exception to this and is in competition for a limited number of business interests looking at either relocating to Nevada, expanding existing companies already here, or starting a new company. With this in mind, the city council proposed an Economic Development Incentives Ad-Hoc Committee to examine possible economic incentives that are within this city’s control and within the confines of the city budget. The committee looked to other communities for ideas as well as trying to develop incentives that are unique to Mesquite and it’s available resources, mainly raw land owned by the city and currently producing no revenue.
A number of recommendations came from the committee. All decisions were unamamous and minutes were recorded of each meeting. The meetings were posted and open to the public. Rather than describe each recommendation in detail, which would take up too much space, I will list them and in future articles explain them in detail.
Policy recommendation one is to create an Economic development Fund. This policy would create a city map of surplus lands, along with a clear process for taking offers, with a timeline and would be provided to all real estate brokers in Mesquite. No property would be given away, but offered at market value. Under this policy were five sub recommendations.
The second policy recommendation was to look at reducing fees. It was decided that reducing fees was not a viable solution. The third policy recommendation was the development of “soft” incentives unique to Mesquite. Policy recommendation four was to conduct a survey of business in Mesquite to better determine their individual needs for business retention. Policy recommendation five is to create a workforce training board in Mesquite and finally the last policy recommendation is to conduct a gap analysis.
Many of ideas I have touched on come from the policies of the City of San Antonio, Texas’s Economic Development Incentive fund guidelines approved by their city council just last year. Of course, we are not San Antonio, we are Mesquite. San Antonio is a vibrant growing city of 1.6 million people, now the seventh largest city in America. We don’t want to be a San Antonio. We want to be Mesquite, Nevada. We want to be as self sufficient and self-supporting as we can and still offer a life-style that any community would envy. We won’t get there by being stagnant. We won’t get there by not being pro-active. To this end we must learn from others, take advantage of our assets, not dwell on what we don’t have, and not try to and find fault with what we are trying to accomplish. The work of the committee was accepted by the council. There is still much to do before we do anything with the committee’s recommendations.
As I write this article we are preparing the necessary paperwork to bring a nearly seven million-dollar library to Mesquite. The first new major development on Mesquite Blvd in many years. Although it won’t bring needed tax dollars, it will signal to many that we are not dying as a community, but looking forward to a bright future. More will come. Stay tuned.