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Spotsy looks at using incentives
Spotsy supervisors backing incentive plan for businesses


Date published: 9/29/2010

BY DAN TELVOCK

Small businesses in Spotsylvania County could soon see some help from the Economic Development Authority.

Supervisors gave their initial support to the EDA's request to expand its role by coming up with a plan for small-business incentives and on how to bring new business to the Jackson Gateway on U.S. 1 heading south toward Thornburg.

"We want to model it somewhat off the JumpStart program in the city of Fredericksburg," said EDA member Carl Ingebretsen, during a joint work session last night with the Board of Supervisors.

EDA Chairman Steve Thomas said the city's incentive program has boosted economic development activity there.

Supervisor Benjamin Pitts said economic development is one of the most important issues in the county.

Supervisor Hap Connors said the EDA should consider incentives for "gazelle companies" that create jobs, such as Google, Microsoft and Rosetta Stone.

"They want access to capital, which is hard to find these days," Connors said.

The EDA has the authority to get tax-free Industrial Development Revenue Bonds for businesses interested in expanding or building in the county.

The last bond sale the EDA did was for the Civil War Preservation Trust to preserve Slaughter Pen battlefield on State Route 2. The Spotsylvania EDA also recently offered help to the Kalahari water resort if the city's EDA had decided not to float the bonds for the company that wants to locate in the city; that help was not needed.

Supervisor Emmitt Marshall said the economy is bad and the EDA should advertise that it can float these bonds for some businesses.

"The banks just won't loan out any money," Marshall said.

Supervisor Gary Jackson supported the EDA's plan and mentioned that members should consider developing a small-business incubator that could help small businesses with management, financing and legal assistance. He said the EDA could use its building at Southpoint that once housed a Civil War museum as office space.

"[Some small businesses] lack the expertise to get their business up and make it meaningful," he said. Jackson also urged the EDA to decide on which types of businesses it might want to attract.

EDA members said they could have an action plan to supervisors in about 90 days, which will include a request for county funding for the incentives program.

Dan Telvock: 540/374-5438
Email: dtelvock@freelancestar.com