Georgia Economic Development Dept Makes Communities Camera Ready

The Georgia Economic Development Department’s Film Office announced that all 159 counties in the state have been designated as “Camera Ready.”

Georgia Camera Ready Community Program

Georgia Camera Ready Community Program

Georgia’s Camera Ready Community Program connects film and television productions with county liaisons who can help production companies with local expertise and support.

The Camera Ready program, the first of its kind in the nation, was established in 2010 to help develop and sustain Georgia’s film and television industry.

The designation is provided to counties after training and certification on how to work effectively with production companies and provide one-on-one assistance at the local level for everything from location scouting to permits, catering, lodging and traffic control during the filming.

When the program began, only 16 of the state’s 159 counties were certified as Camera Ready. With the final 20 counties now certified, Governor Nathan Deal congratulated every community in Georgia for taking part in the program and making Georgia a more attractive place for film and television production.

Georgia Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Office Deputy Commissioner Lee Thomas noted that with every county now prepared to assist the film industry, Georgia is better equipped to welcome and serve more productions statewide.

The program’s home page on the site shows you a location scout map and a full clickable map view of all the Camera Ready counties in the state. You can click-through to see detailed information about each county including contact information for the local liaison.

Apart from the top filming locations and photos of said locations in the county, the information provided also includes the topography, nearest airports, lodging, shopping, restaurants, hospitals, etc.

You can also download the full set of county liaison contacts across the state.

Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Chris Carr said the Camera Ready liaisons play an essential role in attracting movie and television projects to Georgia, and added that the industry is already having a significant impact in communities across the state creating new jobs, investment opportunities, new tourism products and beyond.

When the Camera Ready program was launched in 2010, the industry’s economic impact in the state for fiscal year 2010 was pegged at $1.33 billion.

In fiscal year 2014, more than 158 feature film and television productions were shot in Georgia, leading to $1.4 billion direct spending by the productions and a total industry economic impact of $5.1 billion. The industry now employs more than 77,900 Georgians.

Charlotte, North Carolina Economic Development Teams Collaborate on AvidXchange HQ Project

AvidXchange announced plans for a major investment and expansion of its headquarters operations in Charlotte, NC.

AvidXchange expansion announcement in Charlotte

AvidXchange expansion announcement in Charlotte (photo – Charlotte Chamber)

The company plans to invest $21.4 million for improvements to its current facility in Charlotte and construction of a new 115,000-square-foot corporate headquarters uptown at the NC Music Factory.

AvidXchange also announced plans for creating 603 new jobs over the next four years as part of the expansion.

The new jobs being created will have an average wage of $61,651 plus benefits, which is higher than Mecklenburg County’s prevailing average wage of $59,046.

The announcement was made at the Charlotte Chamber by Gov. Pat McCrory, AvidXchange CEO Michael Praeger and North Carolina Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker.

“AvidXchange is one of North Carolina’s great homegrown success stories,” said Gov. McCrory. The Governor added that over the past 14 years, the company has gone from being run from the founder’s basement to one of the top businesses in its industry.

Praeger said they are thrilled to announce that Charlotte will be the headquarters for their new and expanding corporate campus and excited about the hundreds of technology jobs and world-class talent they will be bringing to the city.

Praeger added that they hope to help Charlotte become a leader of innovation much like Silicon Valley.

A host of state officials and economic development agencies collaborated with local officials and organizations in Mecklenburg County and the City of Charlotte to secure and support the AvidXchange expansion.

The NC Department of Commerce and the North Carolina Economic Development Partnership partnered on this project with the City of Charlotte, Charlotte Chamber, Mecklenburg County, NC Works, NC Community College System, and Charlotte Center City Partners.

AvidXchange could get up to $8.6 million in state and local incentives for the project. This includes around $1.1 million in Mecklenburg County and Charlotte economic development incentives, plus up to to $7.5 million in state incentives under the Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) program.

The JDIG award will be in the form of annual post-performance grants equivalent to 48 percent of the state personal income tax withholdings for the eligible new jobs created. The company will be getting these annual grants for 12 years, subject to their fulfilling incremental job creation requirements. The total benefit over this period could be as high as $7.5 million.

Not to mention the fact that another $2.5 million (25 percent of the total JDIG award) will be allocated to the state’s Utility Fund for economic development in distressed counties.

South Dakota, Indiana Offer Economic Development Incentives for Sapa Expansions

Oslo, Norway-based aluminum extrusion giant Sapa Group is expanding its Sapa Extrusions operations in Yankton, SD and Elkhart, IN.

Sapa Extrusions facility in Yankton, SD

Sapa Extrusions facility in Yankton, SD (photo –

In Yankton, Sapa Extrusions, Inc. is expanding an existing facility to add 54,000 square feet of space for another extrusion press.

The company plans to add 50 new full-time jobs at the Yankton plant over the next three years, adding to the existing 400 employees.

The South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) has approved $24,280 in state incentives to support the expansion. The incentives will be provided under the South Dakota Jobs grant program.

GOED Commissioner Pat Costello said in a statement that the ultimate goal of the SD Jobs grant program is to expand operations or upgrade equipment, and GOED is happy to award these funds whenever they can financially assist a company looking to create jobs.

John Clifton, plant manager of the Sapa Extrusions facility in Yankton, said they are pleased with the support they have received from the State for the expansion, adding that it clearly shows the state’s commitment to businesses and job development in the community.

The City of Yankton and a Yankton economic development organization (Yankton Area Progressive Growth) worked closely with the company on infrastructure improvements, land use matters and other issues related to the expansion.

The company considered other existing locations for this expansion, but ultimately chose Yankton and another existing aluminum extrusion facility in Elkhart, IN.

In Elkhart, Sapa is investing $6 million and plans to create 25 net new jobs by Sept 2017. These are jobs with an average wage of $15.85 per hour that will generate more than $12,360 in local income taxes annually.

The Elkhart City Council is considering approval of a three-year tax abatement requested by Sapa for the project. If approved, it would save the company nearly $94,000 in personal property tax savings and $152,235 in real property tax savings over the three-year period.

Sapa AS, headquartered in Oslo, Norway, is the world’s largest aluminum extrusion company and a leading provider of precision tubing and aluminum-based building systems. The company has 23,000 employees and over 100 production sites spread across more than 40 countries around the world.

Chicago, IL-based Sapa Extrusions Americas, a part of this global network of Sapa AS operations, has 23 facilities in the U.S. and Canada and is the leading producer of seamless and structural aluminum pipes and tubes in North America.

Just In Time Machining to Open New Manufacturing Facility in Ocala, Florida

Just In Time CNC Machining, LLC announced plans to open their first manufacturing facility in Florida in Ocala, Marion County.

Just In Time Machining

Just In Time Machining (photo –

The Family-owned CNC machining firm based in New York already has production facilities in Dansville and Rochester, NY.

JIT now plans to invest $3.205 million to set up operations in Florida to serve their customers in the Southeast, and expects to create 25 manufacturing jobs at the new facility.

Governor Rick Scott said in a statement that Just in Time’s decision to locate their new production facility in Ocala is great news for Florida families.

The company chose Ocala and Florida over competing locations in Alabama, Georgia and Texas.

Kelly Alexander, president and CEO of JIT, said they found Ocala and the State of Florida to be an ideal location for their new manufacturing facility, explaining that the developed manufacturing workforce, I-75 access and Ocala’s central location make it an ideal location from which to serve their customers in the southeastern United States.

The City of Ocala and Marion County worked on this project in collaboration with the Ocala Chamber and Economic Partnership (CEP), Enterprise Florida and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

JIT is getting a package of state and local incentives that includes $75,000 under the Qualified Target Industry (QTI) Tax Refund Grant Program. The State of Florida will be providing $60,000 of the QTI funding, and Marion County will come up with the remaining 20 percent local match of $15,000.

Marion County is additionally offering JIT $25,000 as a local job creation incentive at $1,000 per job created.

Carl Zalak III, chairman of the Marion County Board of County Commissioners, said the board’s commitment of a $40,000 Economic Development Financial Incentive Grant will support capital improvements at JIT’s new facility.

City of Ocala economic development incentives are being provided as a grant under the Small Business Investment Program. Furthermore, JIT will also save up to $120,000 in terms of state sales tax on manufacturing equipment because it chose Florida, which last year eliminated the sales tax on manufacturing equipment and machinery.

Enterprise Florida President and CEO Gary Swoope noted that the removal of the M&E sales tax is creating increased interest in Florida as a location for manufacturers. Florida is already home to some 18,200 manufacturers who employ 317,000 workers.

New Jersey Approves $87.5M in Economic Development Incentives for Manufacturing Projects

At its latest board meeting, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority approved tax credits worth up to $87.5 million for five manufacturing projects in the state.

The Jersey Comeback

The Jersey Comeback (photo –

The state incentives provided through the Grow NJ program will help create 387 new jobs and support retention of 784 jobs that were at risk of being relocated outside New Jersey.

One of the companies approved for tax credits was energy-efficient LED lighting fixtures manufacturer RAB Lighting, Inc. The company is growing fast and needs to expand. They were looking at expanding and renovating their current facility in Northvale, NJ or relocating to New York.

In order to secure this expansion project and keep RAB Lighting in-state, the NJEDA approved $24.65 million in tax credits under the Grow NJ program. A portion of the tax credit will be available to the company annually for a 10-year period.

A fire earlier this year in June shut down the operations of Camden, NJ-based Plastics Consulting and Manufacturing, Inc. The company with 20 existing employees was considering whether to reopen the Camden facility or move to Philadelphia. The NJEDA approved $3.92 million in tax credits over a 10-year period to help keep PCM in Camden.

Coperion K-Tron Pitman, Inc. has one remaining New Jersey facility in Mantua Township, which the company was considering relocating to Virginia. Coperion has been approved for $5.28 million in tax credits over a 10-year period.

Allied Specialty Foods is considering purchasing a processing facility in Vineland, NJ or Delaware, NJ. If they pick Delaware, the company may also relocate their existing headquarters in Vineland to Delaware. The company’s expansion and possible relocation plans are being supported through state incentives including $13.77 million in tax credits over a 10-year period.

The biggest manufacturing project approved to receive state incentives is a proposed expansion by Paterson City, NJ-based Accurate Box Company, one of the largest independent manufacturers of litho-laminated packaging.

The company is considering whether to invest on renovating its existing facility in Paterson City or relocate to New York. The NJEDA approved tax credits worth nearly $40 million over a 10-year period to support Accurate Box Company’s expansion plans and keep the company in-state.

The Grow NJ program was created as the state’s main business incentive program under the Economic Opportunity Act signed into law in Sept 2013.

Michele Brown, chief executive officer of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, said the Economic Opportunity Act continues to achieve tangible results, helping maintain and generate employment opportunities and drive private investment into the state.

Apart from tax credits for the manufacturing projects, the NJEDA also approved up to $4.85 million in tax breaks under the Economic Redevelopment and Growth (ERG) Grant program for the Tropicana Atlantic City Corporation, which is undertaking a $35 million expansion of its casino resort in Atlantic City.

San Francisco Mission Economic Development Agency Tool Wins National Smart Money Hackathon

A tool developed in partnership with San Francisco’s Mission Economic Development Agency has won a national competition of financial inclusion software apps created at hackathons held in several cities.

National Smart Money Hackathon winners

National Smart Money Hackathon winners (photo – SF Office of Financial Empowerment)

New York City, San Francisco and Chicago hosted regional hackathons with technical assistance and funding from the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund) and Capital One.

All told, some 110 participants working in teams created a large number of apps at the hackathons.

The participating teams created everything from budget trackers to goal-setting apps, financial action plans and financial achievement badges.

The winners from each city presented their ideas through a teleconference to the National Smart Money Hackathon judging panel, which ultimately chose MEDAPulse as the national winner.

MEDAPulse was created by a team at the SF Smart Money Hackathon in partnership with the Mission Economic Development Agency, a community economic development corporation located in the Mission District in San Francisco.

MEDA works to improve economic and social conditions for San Francisco’s moderate- and low-income residents by helping them reduce debt, build credit and savings, buy homes and prevent foreclosures, and open and grow small businesses.

This app will help MEDA’s financial counselors go well beyond simply creating action plans on paper for their clients. MEDAPulse will allow client and counselor to build an action plan together, and then allow counselors to follow up by sending customized text messages through the app to the client as per the plan.

Clients can then respond with return text messages to indicate completion of a stage of the action plan or seek additional help.

The team members who created MEDAPulse are Brittany Martin, Melanie Gin, Chris Yancey and Jamie McKenzie. The entire project is available on GitHub.

Brittany Martin, a Rails support engineer, said the SF Smart Money Hackathon was the best one she has ever attended where she found an amazing team of Rails developers and MEDA – a perfect partner to work with on a real solution for client engagement.

CFE Fund President and CEO Jonathan Mintz said that they are excited by MEDAPulse’s use of technology to facilitate client follow up on goals they’ve set with financial advisors.

Leigh Phillips, director of the San Francisco Office of Financial Empowerment, said they were impressed by the quality of the projects developed at the hackathon, with actionable tech-based solutions to help non-profits and their clients.

Phillips added that the hackathon also offered a valuable opportunity for the tech and non-profit sectors to work together.

As the winner of this year’s CFE Fund hackathon, MEDAPulse will now get the opportunity to attend the upcoming CFE Coalition meeting of 14 city governments which are working together for integrating financial empowerment services into municipal social services.

The MEDAPulse team will pitch their idea to the city leaders and seek funding for developing their application.

Kentucky Economic Development Cabinet Launches Build-Ready Site Development Program

The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development is launching a new Build-Ready program to develop an inventory of sites that will give Kentucky a competitive advantage in the site selection process.

Kentucky Build-Ready sites

Kentucky Build-Ready sites

In order to gain the designation, all Build-Ready sites will be required to meet the KCED’s standards for shovel-ready sites plus an additional set of standards that ensure construction of potential projects can begin almost immediately.

The readiness standards are separated into three categories including site preparation, infrastructure and building plans.

The community will have to acquire ownership of the land, prepare a plat using a licensed surveyor, ensure that the property is zoned for industrial or mixed use, and complete a building pad that allows for construction of a building that provides at least 50,000 square feet of space.

Soil and environmental studies and preliminary design work must be completed, inclusive of aerial imagery of the site. Projected construction timeframes and project costs will have to be prepared, site plan permits obtained and the transportation and utility infrastructure must be in place.

The Kentucky Economic Development Cabinet’s Commissioner of Business Development Mandy Lambert said that communities meeting the minimum standards for each of the requirements under the Build-Ready program will drastically reduce the time it takes for a company to select the site, construct a new building and begin operations.

Lambert added that by expediting this timeline and putting companies in operation faster, communities will be able to make their sites more attractive.

Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development Secretary Larry Hayes said their goal is to shorten the timeframe for new and expanding companies to be up and operational, and the Build-Ready program will allow them to do just that.

In addition to pre-existing buildings and shovel-ready sites, the program will allow communities to prepare and market land to potential companies without having to assume the costs and risk of constructing a building on the site.

Sites which meet the readiness level required under the program will get a special designation on the website and in other materials used for marketing the state around the world.

The website functions as a site selection tool offering a map-based inventory of sites and buildings across the state, and also provides workforce and incentives data and other resources required by site selectors.

Oemeta Selects Salt Lake County, Utah for First U.S. Manufacturing Facility

Oemeta, a German company that provides environmentally friendly metalworking fluids, announced plans to open their first U.S. manufacturing facility in Salt Lake County, Utah.


Oemeta (photo –

The company plans to invest $5.25 million to establish the high-tech manufacturing facility, and expects to create 58 new jobs over the next seven years.

These jobs will pay wages and medical benefits that will, in aggregate, exceed 125 percent of the county’s prevailing average wage. The new state wages over the seven-year period are projected to exceed $12.6 million.

Oemeta’s biobased technology is safer than traditional petrochemicals and other chemicals used as coolants and metalworking fluids in industrial machining. The company’s USDA certified biobased products are used by major automotive clients such as Audi and BMW.

Oemeta’s North American headquarters is in Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada, and their U.S. offices are based out of Fort Lee, NJ.

In order to secure the project for Salt Lake County and Utah, the Board of Directors of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development approved up to $113,447 in tax credits for Oemeta.

Every year, as the company fulfills its job creation commitments under the seven-year contract with the state, a portion of the tax credits allocated will be made available as an Economic Development Tax Increment Finance incentive.

The Oemeta facility is expected to generate $567,233 in new state taxes over the seven-year agreement period. The total amount in EDTIF incentives being provided is 20 percent of the tax revenue expected to be generated by the project.

Val Hale, executive director of GOED, said that Oemeta’s addition to Utah’s growing list of manufacturing companies hits home two major points – that Utah is actively recruiting foreign firms to invest in the state, and is increasingly aware of bringing environmentally friendly companies to the state.

Utah recently announced a $79 million environment-friendly greenhouse tomato farm project in Juab County, UT by Houweling’s Tomatoes which is bringing 280 new jobs to the state, along with cutting-edge sustainable farming and climate control technology.

Andrew Leech, president and CEO of Oemeta Inc., said they are looking forward to continue working with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development in their commitment to incorporating the value of more environmentally friendly industrial machining processes.

Utah Economic Development Corp President and CEO Jeff Edwards said Utah continues to attract high-tech companies from around the world thanks to low taxes, a skilled workforce and sound regulations.

Indianapolis Chamber’s Economic Development Unit Lands Financial Services Firm Cortland

Global financial services firm Cortland Capital Market Services announced plans to expand its operations into Indianapolis.

Cortland Capital Market Services

Cortland Capital Market Services (photo –

The company is equipping a new office in the City, and plans to occupy the facility immediately.

The expansion and office space will allow Cortland to accommodate growth plans including creation of 153 new jobs at the new facility by 2019.

Cortland’s expansion and job creation plans are being supported with state incentives approved by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, and the City of Indianapolis is providing additional local support at the request of Develop Indy.

Develop Indy is the business unit of the Indy Chamber, along with the Indy Partnership which represents local economic development organizations in the nine-county Indianapolis region.

The IEDC approved up to $1,825,000 in performance-based tax credits to secure the project. The tax credits are tied to Cortland’s job creation plans.

Cortland Capital Market Services LLC is an independent investment servicing company that provides financial institutions with third-party and outsourced services including commercial bank loan servicing, fund administration, securitization services and middle-office support.

They have more than $40 billion in assets under administration for a client list that includes some of the world’s largest hedge funds, institutional investors, private equity funds, credit funds, real estate managers and others.

The Chicago-based company already has additional offices in New York and Los Angeles, and opened a new London office a few months ago in May.

Governor Mike Pence said that Cortland operates in the world’s largest markets, and out of all the options they chose Indiana for their next office.

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard likewise said they are proud to add Indy to the list of cities like New York, Chicago, London and Los Angeles where Cortland operates, and added that Indy is rapidly becoming a market of choice for many national and international companies.

Doug Hart, principal at Cortland Capital Market Services, said Indiana’s business climate and talented workforce made Indy an ideal location for Cortland to expand their operations.

Brian Gildea, vice president of Indianapolis economic development for the Indy Chamber, said that competition in the professional services sector is tough when it comes to expansions and relocations.

Gildea added that with this announcement, Indy is showing the nation that its workforce not only has the expertise but also the talent to grow a global client base.

Nevada Legislature’s Special Session for Tesla Incentives Attracts Special Interests

The Nevada Legislature was convened by Gov. Brian Sandoval for a special session to work on approving a package of incentives and bills which the State has agreed to provide Tesla.

Nevada Legislature Building, Carson City

Nevada Legislature Building, Carson City (photo – Dave Parker/Wikimedia)

The Nevada Senate and Assembly didn’t actually vote on anything by late evening on Sept 10, 2014, but they did make significant progress in drafting the bills and clearing the obstacles to ensure that the Legislature will now approve the whole package of four separate bills.

The Senate worked on the large bill of incentives (SB1) including transferable tax credits and tax abatements, while the Assembly started with the other three bills (AB1, AB2 and AB3).

AB1 revises the provisions in the Nevada Economic Development Electric Rate Rider Program in order to authorize cheap electricity for the Tesla Gigafactory project for eight years.

AB2 exempts Tesla from the statutory requirement of having to sell their vehicles only through dealers, thus allowing the company to establish its own showrooms and sell their vehicles directly to consumers.

AB3 moves tax credits available to insurers against the general tax on insurance premiums and directs it to Tesla.

All four bills will need to be approved by both the Assembly and the Senate before they can be sent to the Governor for his signature.

Nevada car dealers and insurance companies are not trying to stop the bills. But with $1.3 billion on the line, a host of special interest groups and lobbyists for other companies landed up in Carson City to sneak some state largesse for themselves into the Tesla incentive bills.

One of the companies was Switch, a Las Vegas-based data center firm which is lobbying for the language in the bills to be changed to include additional tax breaks for companies such as itself.

Film and television industry workers who are members of IATSE Local 720 staged a protest in front of the State Capitol. The State plans to cut film tax credits from $80 million to $10 million, and direct the rest to Tesla.

Nevada’s labor leaders are also lobbying to get the Tesla Gigafactory’s construction and equipment installation designated as a public project, which would ensure that construction workers on the project would be paid the higher prevailing wage.

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