Riverside County supervisors Tuesday directed the Executive Office and other agencies to formally develop a variety of monetary incentives aimed at enticing more businesses to set up shop in unincorporated areas of the county, as well as make it profitable for existing ones to stay and expand.
In January, Supervisors Kevin Jeffries and V. Manuel Perez introduced a series of concepts they hoped could translate into financial relief to make the county — in Perez’s words — “more customer- and business-friendly.” The initiative was titled “Business Incentives Program.”
The Executive Office went to work creating proposals that aligned with what Jeffries and Perez had in mind, and the Board of Supervisors considered the prospective reforms, voting 5-0 without comment to authorize staff to hammer out the necessary policy changes for implementation, likely in the next fiscal year.
The six-item list begins with a proposal for creating a “partial sales tax-sharing agreement” whereby qualifying retailers would receive some sales tax revenue back for job creation and retention in “underserved communities.”
Incentives additionally include “partial transient occupancy tax revenue-sharing agreements,” under which the county would dedicate a portion of TOT receipts to “reinvest in infrastructure.” Businesses, including motels and specialty lodges, currently pay 10 percent of gross rents to cover transient occupancy tax levies.
There’s a proposal to expand use of the industrial development bond program, which is a province of the state and federal governments, as well as broaden the county’s capital investment incentive program to rebate a portion of annual property taxes for qualifying manufacturing facilities for as many as 15 consecutive years.
Another proposed incentive is the deferral of development impact fees for qualifying businesses to cut down their startup expenses. Development impact fees fund parks, road improvements, libraries and a range of other projects.
The use of Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts is also on the list. Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts, which have been authorized under Senate Bill 628 since 2014, permit bond sales to finance the construction of public and private projects, including flood control facilities, highways, sewage treatment plants, bridges, mixed-income housing developments and child care centers.
State law permits IOUs to be amortized through tax increment — property tax gains in specific locations that directly benefited from the projects. The Executive Office stated that “these programs should be limited to projects that provide a very significant public benefit.”
Officials recommended that each proposed use of the incentives program be considered on a “case by case basis” and receive a four-fifths vote approval by the board.
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