Creating Vibrant Rural Communities for Florida’s Future 

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Creating Vibrant Rural Communities for Floridas Future. January 28, 2014. Florida Rural Economic Development Study. Rural Florida Strengths. Close p roximity to urban a ssets Population growth Job growth projected. Targeted Sectors. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Creating Vibrant Rural Communities for Floridas FutureJanuary 28, 2014

Findings and insights from the 2012 13 Florida Rural Economic Development StudyStrategies for attracting business & industries to rural counties, including site selection considerations

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Florida Rural Economic Development Study

Delivered December 2012Many of you are familiar with the Rural Florida Strategic Plan that was unveiled last year. BSA had the privilege of undertaking this study and we sincerely believe that Rural Florida has the assets and attributes to fully participate in the next cycle of Floridas economic growth and development. There is an opportunity for Rural Florida to position itself and control its economic destiny. Florida as a state has done well in the past two years and has, from an economic development perspective, emerged from the recession.2Rural Florida Strengths

Close proximity to urban assets

Population growth

Job growth projected

3Although many in Florida perceive Rural Florida to be distressed and an Area of Critical Economic Concern, it is much better off statistically and blessed with far greater assets than its potential competitors in other southeastern states.

Another advantage of Rural Florida is projected population growth. As opposed to a declining population found in most rural areas, Rural Florida continues to experience positive population growth, offering companies an expanding pool of workers and talent.

When looking at the rural counties in Florida population growth from 2012 to 2017 is 4 percent. That is the same as the state and higher than the U.S. projected growth for the same time period.

FROM RURAL BOOTCAMP:All three RACEC regions, combined with the additional rural counties of Flagler, Nassau, and Walton, are projected to grow 4 percent in population between 2012 and 2017, which is the same growth rate that is projected for the state of Florida and more than the United States as a whole at 3 percent. When looking at the regions individually, FHREDI and the NFEDP regions are each projected to grow 2 percent, while the Opportunity Florida region is projected to grow 3 percent.

Looking at historical population growth from the period between 2003 and 2012, all of the regions recorded significant population growth: the NFEDP region grew 11 percent, the Opportunity Florida region grew 10 percent, and the FHREDI region grew 8 percent. All three RACEC regions combined with the additional rural counties of Flagler, Nassau, and Walton grew 14 percent, which is the same growth rate for the state of Florida and higher than the United States at 9 percent. If you look at just the growth from 2010 - 2012, the picture is not as positive but that was typical of most regions in the country.

3Targeted Sectors

4In the Rural Florida Study, six targeted sectors were identified as the best opportunities for Rural Florida including: AgribusinessAviation/AerospaceHealthcare Services and ProductsLogistics and DistributionRenewable EnergySustainable Building Products4Key Recommendations

5Change the Rural Areas of Critical Economic Concern name

Eliminate QTI provision that requires that any applicant that exercises the option to be exempt from the local financial support requirement is not eligible for more than 80 percent of the total tax refunds allowed such applicant

Eliminate local match requirement under Rural Infrastructure Fund

Support development of a program that focuses on training of elected officials in economic development

Develop more Catalyst Sites

5Moving Forward

6House Bill 0611A bill to be entitled Been referred to committeeAn act relating to rural areas of opportunity; amending s. 212.098, F.S.; revising definitions; authorizing Enterprise Florida, Inc., to make certain recommendations; increasing the value of tax credits for certain eligible businesses; providing an additional tax credit for certain eligible businesses located within a rural area of opportunity; authorizing certain eligible businesses to apply for an ad valorem tax reimbursement in a specified amount; providing for a sales tax refund for certain eligible businesses; authorizing the Department of Revenue to adopt rules; amending s. 288.018, F.S.; increasing the maximum amount of grant funds that regionally based economic development organizations may receive from the Department of Economic Opportunity; authorizing the department to determine the appropriate amount of nonstate resources to match such grants; amending s. 288.0655, F.S.; increasing the maximum percentage of infrastructure project costs for which the department may award grants; revising requirements for eligible projects and eligible uses of funds; amending s. 288.106, F.S.; deleting a provision that caps the tax refund amount for certain qualified target industry business tax refund applicants; providing additional criteria for the identification of target industries; exempting certain businesses from the requirement that tax refunds be reduced in the absence of a specified amount of local financial support; amending s. 290.004, F.S.; revising the definition of the term "rural enterprise zone" to include rural areas of opportunity; amending s. 290.0065, F.S.; specifying that a rural area of opportunity shall be designated as a rural enterprise zone; amending s. 339.63, F.S.; conforming provisions to changes made by the act; amending ss. 125.271, 163.3177, 163.3187, 163.3246, 211.3103, 218.67, 288.065, 288.0656, 288.1088, 288.1089, 290.0055, 339.2819, 373.4595, 380.06, 380.0651, 985.686, and 1011.76, F.S.; renaming "rural areas of critical economic concern" as "rural areas of opportunity"; providing an effective date.6

Economic Development is a Team Sport.

7Economic development is no longer a covert, lone wolf endeavor. It is a team sport that requires managing information and relationships toward a specific goal. The players will change as the challenges change and the task is all the more difficult because confidentiality of the information is still critical. You have to expand your circle of resources while maintaining the confidentiality of the project. Easyno; absolutely necessary

Regional partnerships are even more critical for rural communities. Instead of thinking about two- or three-county areas, rural governments must set policies encompassing much larger regions -- rural areas must better align themselves with other rural areas, as well as nearby urban hubs and vice versa. Dont forget economic development is about sales and service. Customer service can be a differentiator. You have to approach your job as a salesperson and not as a bus driver or tour guide. You have to manage your time to maximize results. Granted, a lot of any economic developers time is taken off task by stakeholders, like board members and elected officials, that does not excuse you from being productive; it only increases the importance of managing your time that you do control, towards maximum impact. This can only be done through knowing the desired results and then only undertaking efforts that can be demonstrated to contribute to those results.

In order to sell your community you have to really understand your community and what makes it tick in order to add any value to site selection consultants and/or prospects. Some of us remember when we all hesitated to put much data or buildings and sites information on our websites, because we wanted to be sure the prospect had to call us. Well thats certainly all changed. All of the baseline data is available to anyone. You need to first know what the data on your community looks like that others are looking at and then supplement it with data that helps you tell the story you want to tell. In other words, maybe educational attainment data for your community doesnt paint the best picture. You should collect other data points related to education that present your community in a more favorable light and feature that information on your website and in your responses to prospects. And, in the spirit of sustainability, its time to redeploy printed collateral and use those resources for business intelligence and online content.

Governor Scott and Gray Swoope, Florida is more focused on job creation than it has been in recent memory and this dedicated focus will help the state move forward and to grow. I want to finish by giving some thoughts on what you can do today or tomorrow to capitalize on the advantages of Rural Florida.

And the data you need is available through the FPL Resource Center

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