Pinellas County may be on its way to welcoming a wave of new higher-end jobs.
At a Tuesday meeting, the Board of County Commissioners made all the necessary moves to encourage an interested businesses service firm — referred to as B5070737632 by the Commission — to house its new corporate headquarters in Pinellas County.
Should the outside firm choose to set up shop here, which, according to the Commission’s Aug. 18 meeting agenda, it “wishes” to do, then an estimated 255 new jobs would come with it. And each position would pay at least $85,000 per year, or about twice that of the state’s $42,904 average annual pay scale.
The economic impact of these earnings should result in an estimated $29.4 million for the county, and create a potential 396 new direct and indirect jobs, according to Pinellas’ Economic Development Department.
The firm, said Economic Development Director Mike Meidel, primarily focuses on marketing, is “fast growing,” and has “run out of space” in its current location. Its higher-ups are also evidently considering Texas, Minnesota, Georgia and Canada as other possible relocation sites.
Thanks to a resolution passed by the Commission on Tuesday, should the company come to Pinellas, it would most likely qualify for Florida’s Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund (QTI) program, a program created by the Legislature to encourage economic growth through new, high-wage, value-added employment opportunities.
To explain the QTI program in County Administrator Mark Woodard‘s words, “[it’s] an incentive based program where taxes paid by the new business are rebated back to that business based upon the actual creation of jobs and capitol investment.”
In this instance, the potentially incoming firm’s total tax refund has been calculated at over $1.7 million, or $7,000 per job for each of the estimated 255 new jobs. The $7,000 per job is based on pay scales equivalent to at least 200 percent of the state’s average annual wage, as well as on a high-impact sector bonus. And no more than 25 percent of the total refund may be taken by the firm in any single fiscal year.
The state will need to approve the numbers before things become official, a process that is going to cost Pinellas County and the City of St. Petersburg $178,500 each, as downtown St. Pete seems to be where the firm is eyeing for relocation.
“Office space is filling up downtown,” concluded Meidel. “Because of the popularity of downtown St. Petersburg in particular […] the market’s getting tight.”