Free land? Check. Practically no taxes? Check. Drastically discounted utility rates? Check.
For many small businesses, finding incentives to expand or relocate is often a daunting task. One way is to identify towns and states that are offering such incentives.
Here is one solution.
City and development officials in a Midwestern city are hoping that industrial-business owners like the three-for-three odds and will relocate to one of two local industrial parks.
Muskegon, Mich., is offering an economic-development incentive package to attract companies that will create 25 or more full-time jobs. Both new and existing industrial companies can take advantage of the incentive package, which offers land in either the Seaway Industrial Park – seven parcels totaling 12 acres - or the Muskegon County Business Park North, home to 110 acres of shovel-ready industrial land. Both parks are near the county airport, a freshwater port and two major highways and have rail access.
Steve Warmington, Muskegon’s mayor, says the city is eager to attract new employers to the area, which is why the development package was created.
Companies willing to commit to the creation of at least 25 full-time jobs will receive five acres of free industrial property. Because both of the industrial parks are located in a State of Michigan Renaissance Zone, businesses opening shop there will have practically no state or local property or income taxes. In addition, those companies will be assessed water- and sewer-usage charges at 50% of the regular rate.
The more jobs a company adds, the larger the incentive. For example, a company creating 100 or more full-time positions will receive 30 acres of free industrial property. The property- and income-tax waivers at the state and local levels still apply; however, the charges for water and sewer usage drops to 20 percent of the regular rate.
The reduced utility costs are guaranteed for a minimum of three years. Other development incentives available to relocating businesses are Brownfield tax credits and site-assessment grants, commercial rehabilitation and obsolete-property certificates, and a revolving loan fund.
Also, business owners will receive either a free boat slip or season hockey tickets.
City and development officials say Muskegon is the ideal place to relocate a business because it is centrally located on the shores of Lake Michigan. With a population of 40,000 and a nearby metropolitan area of 120,000, Muskegon has been home to major manufacturers in aerospace, automotive, office furniture and defense.
Muskegon is less than 200 miles from Chicago and Detroit, and a high-speed cross-lake ferry service connects Muskegon to Milwaukee, 75 miles across Lake Michigan. Both industrial parks have access to abundant supplies of both fresh water and waste-water treatment.
City and development officials are hoping to lure companies in the areas of food processing, alternative-energy technology, maritime and agricultural products, and life science.
For more information, visit www.michiganeconomicdevelopment.org.