Economic Development is always a hot topic, particularly during periods of growth like we are currently experiencing. This week we want to hit on just a few of the “measuring sticks” used to assess performance in the development arena.
• The first measurement of economic growth that we will consider is median household income (MHI). According to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERC), in 2016 Lincoln County was ranked #10 in the sate of Missouri with an MHI of $56,833, which places us above other notable counties such as Boone (Columbia), Greene (Springfield), and Franklin (Washington).
• Another method of gauging economic development success is the growth in the commercial tax base. Lincoln County hired its first full-time Economic Development Director in September 2013, and since then the value of the commercial tax base has increased from $78,895,745 in 2013 to $95,931,641 in 2017; a growth rate of 21.6%. Not a bad 5-year run, but the expectations are even higher moving forward.
• Yet another measurement of the performance of economic development efforts is capital investment and job creation. If we just focus on the 5-year period since we went “all in” on economic development and narrow our focus to only the projects that have participated in the county’s Enhanced Enterprise Zone (EEZ), a tax incentive program that encourages new or expanded business facilities and job creation, since 2013, the numbers are still impressive. With a total Capital Investment of $37,548,370.28 and the creation of 796 jobs, the results are favorable from this perspective as well.
• To tie all of this together, let’s keep our focus on just the EEZ activity since 2013 to determine how much return the taxpayers are getting for an investment in a $150,000 annual Economic Development budget. Using the County’s average wage of $17.93/hour as determined by the State Department of Economic Development, the 796 jobs equate to an annual income of $29,686,342. This income coupled with an average annual capital investment of $7,509,674 created a grand total of $37,196,016 added to the economy in 2017.…just from the efforts relative to the EEZ. Realistically speaking, we know that no single entity or individual can lay claim to all of these results, but let’s give Larry Tucker and his staff credit for a conservative 1% of these results or income of $371,960 annually versus an annual expenditure of $150,000. Regardless of the investment, that’s not a bad return at all.
• If we were to factor in the economic benefits resulting from all of our Economic Development efforts it would be even more apparent that the County is experiencing strong growth far and above our EEZ efforts and taxpayers are truly getting “bang” for their buck through Economic Development.
• For a more in depth look into Economic Development, we encourage everyone to stop by the 3rd floor of the old Courthouse and visit with Larry Tucker and his assistant Julie Rodgers.
That’s all we have time for now. As always, call, e-mail or stop by the Courthouse if you have questions. Until next week…