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City Council candidate question of the week, week five: Economic development

By Staff | Aug 21, 2015

Each week through the primary, The Breeze will ask the candidates for Cape Coral City Council an issue-related question. In the interest of fairness, each candidate is limited to the same amount of space, about 100 words, for their response. The question for Week 5 is: Does the city have a role in economic development? If so, what programs, initiatives or incentives would you support – and where will the money for such come from?

District 2


I believe it’s very important for the city to do everything in its power to encourage economic development. Streamlining the process, developing strategies to grow business is beneficial to the city.

Lowering impact fees and permitting will enhance business growth, however it is also important to monitor the “EDO” for their success. How many businesses have opened and stayed open, which businesses are struggling and why. It’s not all about getting business to come, it’s also about getting businesses to stay and succeed.

Business and job growth is also important for revenue. The city must also remember not to be an obstacle because of outrageous ordinances and permitting which would hurt business development.



The city has an obligation to not only have a role in economic development, but to be a leader in economic development. With a commercial tax base of 10 percent and a residential tax base of 90 percent, the city must do whatever it can to increase its commercial base. There are incentives that the city can offer, but incentives should predicated on how long the business has been established, the volume the business does, as well as the number of jobs that may be involved.

Incentives that may be offered that could be utilized is in the area of infrastructure, such as running water lines or sewer lines or a reduction of the impact fees. We could offer up city-owned land at a reduced price or lease the property at a reduced rate.

To finance these incentives, the Economic Development Office has a special fund, already set up. All these considerations are based upon what the business has to offer to the City.



Marketing our city to tourists and businesses.

Hire the best people to run the Economic Development Review Departments and the Downtown Redevelopment Departments.

We need to streamline and make government smaller and more efficient government to save taxpayers from higher taxes.

Have best grant writers find revenue sources to help turn our city around.

Market our city throughout the United States and other countries.

Make sure our state and our government lobbyist is working hard for our city.


District 3


1. Employees have to realize that the more efficiently that each department runs and the more work it turns out the city brings in more revenue.

2. The more businesses that they get through the building permit department the faster the city gets revenue from the new business.

3. Each department official should be educated in technology and training and have a more efficiently run department.

4. Better reporting in each department. Each department and employees should be compensated for a more efficiently run department, more money for employees. Everyone has to work together to achieve our goals.



Does the city have a role in Economic Development?

Absolutely! Economic Development in any city has a direct effect on all citizens within that community and further. The city of Cape Coral believes in this issue so much that the city has a dedicated a department that is fully funded solely for that purpose.

Programs, initiatives, incentives and the like originate from the Economic Development Office then are vetted and approved by the city council for implementation.

The money comes from the Economic Development budget to the tune of approximately $600,000 annually. The city council has found it to be a responsible and prudent action to fully fund this valuable department with monies that are solely dedicated for the purpose of sustaining services to our community for years to come.



The city has a huge role in economic development.

Our ED director does a great job with his limited budget. I am in favor of incentives based on performance, also forgiveness of impact fees based on quantity and quality of employees being brought to the Cape.

A few months ago I heard how the storm water fees are a disincentive to build in the CRA area….this must be addressed.

Return on investment goes on for years and years, so forgiving ad valorem taxes for a period of time is not out of the picture. Funds need to come from whichever fund is applicable.


District 7


The goal when planning for economic development is to create a strong, vibrant local economy. A comprehensive economic plan should cover an extended period of time, say 20 years and should be reviewed and updated periodically.

I would be inclined to support, through reduced fees, such as storm water fees and impact fees, large businesses that would have a significant economic impact on our local economy and create jobs for our citizens. Funds for these incentives would come from the Incentive Fund which is overseen by the city manager. Currently there’s a balance of $544,000 in that fund with $200,000 earmarked for the Weston Project. City Council approves all expenditures over $50,000 from the fund and replenishes it when necessary.


City government plays a vital role in economic development. Having a dedicated Economic Development Office puts us ahead in Southwest Florida, because the other cities in this region don’t have one.

However, we aren’t just competing locally – large companies like Hertz will search nationwide for the perfect location. In order to attract this type of business, we need properties to be utility-ready. That, coupled with economic incentives built into the annual budget (a fund dedicated to reducing the burden of impact fees, for example) will bring the right kind of companies to Cape Coral.


There are a few things that the city of Cape Coral can do to stimulate economic development.

Advertising should be expanded to continue to show Cape Coral as a business friendly destination throughout additional areas of the country.

The city should continue performance-based tax incentives to attract businesses.

Most importantly, new policies must be scrutinized by Council as to not deter businesses. Some of the money will come from the current increase in revenue from property values. Small amounts may need to come from other budgeted sources (ex: delaying future software upgrades).

Cape Coral City Council races are non-partisan,citywide elections meaning registered voters can cast a ballot in each race, no matter party affiliation, no matter the district in which they live.

Early Voting for the primary is Sept 8-12:

Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Primary Election is Sept. 15 with the polls open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.