Marana is offering to reimburse construction sales tax revenues to new employers who create higher-paying jobs, improve the appearance of the I-10 corridor and provide internships to high school and college students.
The Marana Job Creation Incentive Program is a three-year, trial offering crafted by town administration, and OK'd by the town council last week. Its goal is "to improve Marana's competitiveness in attracting high-wage, career-oriented, sustainable jobs," said Josh Wright, who works on economic development and other issues within the town manager's office.
"This is definitely new territory for the town," Wright said. "It's a bold step for the town. We're willing to try some new things that haven't been tried before."
Qualifying employers must create at least 25 new jobs that pay at least $40,000 each in Marana. "It's designed to attract the type of jobs we want," said Wright.
In addition, employers must generate at least $52,000 in construction sales tax revenue, approximately equal to that generated by a $2 million investment.
Retail operations are not eligible. "It's more of a career-oriented job base," Wright said.
A qualifying employer can be reimbursed:
• up to $3,000 for each of its employees who purchase a residence within Marana's town limits. Wright said an analysis by Elliot D. Pollack and Co., an independent firm, indicates the incentive for purchased homes "will pay for itself." Town government receives first-year revenues of $8,452 in sales taxes when a new home is sold, and $1,552 in annual tax revenues when an existing home is purchased. "You're going to see a full return on the investment," Wright told the council;
• for a project that improves the appearance of landscaping, a façade or signage on public or private rights-of-way within the I-10 corridor. One of Marana's goals is a better-looking I-10 corridor;
• when it offers student internships and training to Marana high school and college students.
Currently, construction sales tax revenues generated in Marana are divided between the town's general fund and transportation fund. This incentive is "really more of a reinvestment" of those dollars, Wright said.
"Everything is linked back to a broader community goal," Wright said. "It benefits them, and it also benefits the entire community."
Employers must provide documents verifying they have met terms of the incentive program to receive reimbursements. Offer of the incentives would take effect within 30 days of the council's adoption. Without an extension, the job creation incentives expire in 2013.
Marana must undertake "an entire marketing component" to promote the incentives to employers, and "to show how serious we are about job creation," Wright said. "The best marketing is usually word of mouth. "
Ed Stolmaker, president and chief executive officer of the Marana Chamber of commerce, expressed the organization's support for the job creation incentives. "It's a win-win for the town, and for future businesses in our community," he said.
The council was enthusiastic and unanimous in its support. "This could be a real win for our area," Councilman Russell Clanagan said.
"It shows Marana is on the cutting edge, and we do want people to move into our community," Mayor Ed Honea said.