Local and State Incentives
Lee County FIRST Program for High Value Jobs ($25 M Incentive)
Business expansion and locations; cash reimbursement based on performance agreement; targeted industries; >125% of county average wage; 75 new jobs over three years; major capital investment; inducement
Lee County Job Opportunity Program (LCJOP) for High Value Jobs
Business expansions and locations; 10 + new jobs; $2,000 - $6,000 per new job; targeted industries; >100% of county average wage; cash reimbursement of approved expenditures; also used for 20% match to State QTI; inducement
Industrial Development Revenue Bonds
Tax-exempt bonds; provides a source of long-term, below-market-rate financing; allows certain types of business opportunity to finance facility construction and related cost at an interest rate typically two or three percent below conventional financing rates
State tax refunds and credits for businesses located in the EZ; additional City of Fort Myers and County incentives
Lee County Change of Use Impact Fees
Waived (expires Dec. 2014)
Lee County Roads, Parks and School Impact Fees
Reduced by 80% for two years (expires March 2015)
Fast Track Rezoning and Permitting
Expedited process for projects identified by Economic Development as "economic projects"
Job Cash Incentive Program for Targeted Industries
$1,500 per job created above the Lee County Average Wage*
$1,000 per job at 90-100% above the Lee County Average Wage*
The program would be a reimbursement based on job creation within a time limit. Minimum of five (5) new jobs within the first three (3) years. Only eligible for the first 20 jobs.
*Wage based on the Cape Coral-Fort Myers MSA (Lee) Wage – 2013 Average Wage: $35,859 Hourly: $17.24
Beautification and Landscaping Matching Grant
Qualifying applicants are existing, expanding and relocating businesses within the City limits. City will fund 50% of the project with a match of 50% by the owner for projects outside the downtown along designated corridors (Bonita Beach Road, US 41 Road, Old 41 Road, Imperial Parkway and Terry Street). City will release monies on a reimbursement basis, not to exceed $5,000 in City matching funds per project.
Change of Use Impact Fees
Code Enforcement Lien Mitigation Program
City will consider mitigation code enforcement liens on commercial properties when the nuisance has been abated and the property is changing in ownership and there is a change from vacant to occupied for commercial use. The factual circumstances will ultimately determine the level of mitigation. The Business Advocate will coordinate with applicant through the Code Enforcement Hearing Examiner process.
Commercial Rent Subsidies Program (Citywide)
City will offer up to 25% rent subsidy for one year for targeted businesses citywide. Requires a minimum two (2) year lease. Subsidy begins in the second year. Rent subsidies will not to exceed $5,000 per business. Required minimum of five (5) new jobs created.
Downtown Bonita Facade Matching Grant
Qualifying applicants are existing, expanding and relocating businesses within the City limits. City will fund 80% of the project with a match of 20% by the owner. City will release monies on a reimbursement basis, not to exceed $10,000 in City matching funds per project. Work must comply with the architectural guidelines and color palette established for downtown.
Historic Preservation Grant
Qualifying properties must be designated within the Bonita Springs Register of Historic Places. City will fund 80% of the project with a match of 20% by the owner. City will release monies on a reimbursement basis, not to exceed $10,000 in City matching funds per project. Work must comply with the architectural guidelines and color palette established for downtown and required historic preservation guidelines (i.e., certificate of appropriateness.)
Incentive Award Program
Any individual who provides a substantial lead to the City and/or the EDC that directly results in the location of any business within the designated Downtown Bonita area may be recognized in an award program which could include a cash incentive. City Council determines who qualifies as a substantial lead on a case by case basis. The business must create a minimum of five (5) new jobs within the first year. Total cash incentive shall not exceed $1,500 per project. Anyone that the City determines has provided a substantial lead providing individual may receive 50% of the incentive when the business opens and the remaining 50% of the incentive when the five (5) jobs are created, or one year, whichever comes first. City may prorate or defer (for a time period not to exceed six months) the incentive at the one year mark if not all five (5) jobs are created.
Municipal Rebates for Allowable Fees
City will rebate allowable municipal fees collected for a targeted industry with the creation of a minimum of five (5) new jobs at the Lee County Average Annual Wage. Allowable fees may include impact fees, planning and zoning fees, and other non-ad valorem revenue directly collected by the City and not necessary for repayment of any City obligations. City will release monies on a reimbursement basis, not to exceed $2,000 per year per business. Rebate not to exceed three (3) years from date new business is created within the City’s boundaries.
Priority Permitting Process
Applications for targeted businesses will be placed at the “front of the Line” for local permits and receive expedited processing. City will dedicate specific resources to proactively mitigate impediments to assist in meeting specific project deadlines. This includes full access to the Business Advocate.
Utilities Aid in New Construction (ANC) Fee Credits for Economic Development
The City has partnered with Bonita Springs Utilities (BSU) to provide an ANC fee credits program. The program permits identified economic development projects to receive a reduction in their connection costs to BSU. This would be a credit to a one-time charge for plant capacity (including water storage) utilization by developers or landowners for plant capacity who receive water, wastewater or irrigation water service from the utility. The decision to issue credit is determined by City Council on a case-by-case basis through adoption of a resolution prepared by the Business Advocate.
Cash Incentive Program
Business expansions and locations; 5 + new jobs; 75% of new employees current or planned Cape Coral residents; $2,000 per new job above average wage or $1,500 per job that equals average wage; targeted industries; >100% of county average wage; cash reimbursement of approved expenditures
Impact Fee Deferral Program
Road and utility capital improvement impact fees for target sectors for up to 10 years. Commercial/industrial shell buildings are also eligible for deferrals up to 36 months
Road Impact Fees
Waived for any business moving into an existing building
Cape Coral Community Redevelopment Agency
Technical and financial assistance for exterior commercial building renovations and new construction projects
City of Fort Myers Impact Fee Waivers
- Water (Expires Jan. 1, 2014)
- Sewer (Expires Jan. 1, 2014)
- Change of Use (Expires Dec. 2014)
Fast Track Plan Reviews and Permitting
Expedited process for projects identified as "economic projects".
Development Concierge Service
Service for projects identified as "economic projects" to provide concierge service through email tree communications, on-site consultations, external agency referrals, and cross-department coordination to rapidly respond to development requests.
Advanced Demographic, GIS Mapping Service, and Business Marketing
- Project specific data and mapping services through economic development GIS layers, demographic data, and consumer trend data.
- Shops QA micro-website business directory service. Provides web-based directory from City website to all businesses in the City. Provides businesses an interactive micro-website for information, marketing, coupons, directions, and mapping.
State tax refunds and credits for businesses located in the EZ. City and County incentives.
Community Development Block Grant – Economic Development Incentives
Provision of loans and grants to businesses and organizations to benefit low-to-moderate income residents through commercial rehabilitation, job creation, job retention, micro-enterprise development, job training, and small business loans.
Local Brownfields Program
- City has 3 locally designated brownfields districts that qualify projects for State Brownfields Tax Credit incentive.
- City uses EPA Brownfields Assessment and Clean-up grants to assist in the redevelopment of private and public properties.
Purchasing & Contracts
Local vendor preference for City businesses and continuing contract program.
Fort Myers Community Redevelopment Agency (FMCRA)
- 14 Redevelopment Districts designated in Fort Myers.
- Tax Increment Financing (TIF) – Tax rebates available to return percentage of property taxes paid for redevelopment projects.
- Landscape/Façade Matching Grant
- Business Development Grant
- Marketing assistance through website and downtown directory, ombudsman and technical assistance for redevelopment projects, and business property location assistance.
- Fort Myers Film Commission – promotes film activity at City locations.
- Enhanced Municipal Service Levels – Decorative lighting, promotional signage, parking, police patrols, and storm water credits.
Southwest Florida Enterprise Center (SWFEC)
- Business incubator that provides leased space to entrepreneurs for office and warehouse needs. Tenants are provided business services for administrative services, meeting space, and technical assistance.
- Entrepreneurial school is offered to individuals interested in developing a business plan and learning how to start a business.
FEMA National Flood Insurance Program – Community Rating System
City CRS program participation reduces flood insurance rates for City businesses and residences by 15%.
Fire Department Service Level
- City Fire service level provides a City-wide ISO rating of 3. The low rating is factored into commercial insurance policies to reduce rates for businesses and residences located within Fort Myers.
- Enhanced fire services that provide incentive for commercial and industrial facilities to locate in Fort Myers include ladder truck service, technical rescue team, regional WMD primary response team, County hazardous material team, advanced life support service, and GPS closest unit response technology.
Harborside Event Center and Downtown Event Promotion
- Harborside – riverfront event center for large conferences, trade gatherings, meeting space, and special event or product promotions.
- MyRiverDistrict.com – promotes events and downtown businesses.
- Downtown Event Promotions – City provides $141,500 annually to promote 14 special events that attract over 250,000 visitors to Fort Myers annually.
- Free day-visit and event dockage at Fort Myers Yacht Basin.
- Out-parcels for convention hotel and restaurant/multi-use development adjacent to new water detention amenity site in the Downtown riverfront. Offsite storm water credits available with approval to reduce on-site design costs. The basin is designed to promote special event and economic activity.
Qualified Targeted Industry Tax Refund Program (QTI)
Business expansions and locations; 10 + new jobs; $3,000 to $8,000 per new job; targeted industries; 115% of county average wage; tax refund; local community must provide 20% match; inducement
Quick-Response Training Grant (QRT)
Expansions, locations and existing businesses; customized entry-level skills training not available at the local level; 24 months or less; grant goes directly to company; no restrictions on type of training; 50/50 match
Economic Development Transportation Fund
Business expansions and locations; targeted industries; up to $2 million to local municipality for project transportation impediments
Enterprise Bonds (Pooled Activity Bonds)
Grouping of smaller, individual project loans; upfront bond financing costs in range of 3.5%-4% of the amount of financing requested; $800,000 to $2.5m or more for acquisition of fixed assets; credit-worthy manufacturers and select non-profit organizations; long-term, tax-exempt, below conventional rate loans
Incumbent Worker Training (IWT)
Existing for-profit businesses in Florida for at least one year with one full-time employee; customized training; no minimum wage requirement; grant goes directly to company; no restrictions on type of training, 50/50
Machinery and Equipment Sales Tax Exemption
Expanding or locating manufacturers; exempt from sales tax
Sales Tax Exemption on Electricity and Steam
Existing or locating manufacturers; machinery and equipment; <75% receives 50% exemption; >75% receives 100% exemption
Brownfield Redevelopment Bonus
City of Fort Myers only; tax refund for pre-approved applicant; 20% of average wage of new jobs created, up to maximum of $2,500 per new job; real property, expansion, redevelopment or reuse