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Frank Ferry: City to launch 21-point business plan

Live from City Hall

Posted: May 14, 2009 4:13 p.m.
Updated: May 15, 2009 4:55 a.m.
The city of Santa Clarita City Council recently approved an unprecedented 21-Point Business Plan for Progress, investing more than $5.1 million in new programs and incentives aimed at boosting the local economy now and well into the future.

Implementing the plan calls for use of general fund money, special district funds and federal stimulus dollars.

Some of the action items in the plan are tried and true programs the city has already had success with, such as partnering with the business community, using one-time funds for one-time projects and streamlining the processes of the city of Santa Clarita to allow businesses to be even more successful.

The 21-point plan for progress boasts a variety of innovative programs, including a first-ever film incentive program (FIP) providing subsidized permit fees and a transit occupancy tax (TOT) rebate program for locally based productions.

The film incentive program is designed to strengthen incentives recently introduced by the state, helping to retain valuable productions and entertainment companies in Los Angeles.

Also included is a $250,000 “Think Santa Clarita Valley” campaign to promote the area’s abundant retail, dining and professional service offerings among residents, businesses and audiences in greater Los Angeles, in an effort to support locally based businesses of all kinds.  

Since its incorporation in 1987, Santa Clarita has worked hard to make doing business within the city as simple as possible. As part of the 21-point plan, Santa Clarita will create a development one-stop at City Hall, helping to streamline the permit process and expedite business permitting needs.

Based upon requests from the business community, the city will review and update its development process by introducing new technology allowing business owners to submit their plans and receive permits online, saving time and money.  

The city will invest $50,000 to broaden marketing efforts for its Enterprise Zone program as part of the plan.

Since Santa Clarita was designated an Enterprise Zone a year and a half ago, the program has generated a potential more than $14.6 million in savings to local business, a number the city believes is only a small portion of what can be achieved with increased awareness about the program and its benefits.

The Santa Clarita City Council also approved further review and consideration of a hotel business improvement district (BID), which could potentially generate hundreds of thousands of dollars to support tourism attraction to the Santa Clarita Valley.

The city already works closely with tourism partners like Six Flags California, Westfield Valencia Town Center and local hotels and tourism-minded businesses to market the area and support regional and national tourism, which contributes more than $10 million annually to the local economy.  

A use tax incentive for the business expansion program was also approved, whereby business owners that direct use tax payments in excess of $20,000 annually would qualify for subsidized permit fees or rebates, directly improving local businesses’ bottom line.

Other aspects of the plan include maximizing federal stimulus dollars for infrastructure projects that benefit the community; directing federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program dollars to pro-actively address local vacant and foreclosed homes; improving the WorkSource Center; increasing the city’s incentive to purchase locally from 5 percent to 10 percent; and working with local public and private partners to create an Economic Development Corporation for Santa Clarita.

Santa Clarita remains one of Southern California’s most sought-after communities in which to live, work and play, and recognized as one of the best economies in California by Union Bank.

In 2008, the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation named Santa Clarita “Los Angeles County’s Most Business-Friendly City,” and the California Association for Local Economic Development recently recognized the city’s small business program as the “Best Economic Development Program” in the state for 2008.  

Frank Ferry is mayor of Santa Clarita. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. “Live from City Hall” is a column provided to The Signal by the city of Santa Clarita.


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