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Pinellas commissioners greenlight incentives for aviation/aerospace manufacturer

Margie Manning

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Photo by Charlize Birdsinger on Unsplash

A manufacturing firm eyeing expansion in Largo is in line for a tax refund and property tax exemptions if the company goes ahead with the move.

The Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners voted Tuesday to approve the incentives for the business, which was not identified by name.

“We are at a competitive situation right now with their expansion project,” Suzanne Christman, senior economic development manager for Pinellas County Economic Development, told commissioners. “They also have facilities with excess capacity in Sacramento, California. We’re trying to get the expansion project here at their existing Largo facility.”

The company is allowed to keep its identify confidential under state guidelines, but commissioners were told it is in the aviation/aerospace manufacturing industry and is considering  consolidating its out-of-state production facility in Pinellas County. The project would include the construction of an approximate 40,000 ­square ­foot facility and substantial equipment upgrades for a total estimated capital investment of $7.3 million. About 47 workers would be hired, with average pay for the new employees of at least 115 percent of the average annual wage for Pinellas County.

Commissioners voted unanimously for a resolution approving the project as a Qualified Target Industry business, one that will add high-wage, valued-added jobs. Under the QTI program, the state provides 80 percent of the tax refunds, with 20 percent coming from local financial participation. The local financial support for the project is $47,000, with 50 percent from Pinellas County and 50 percent from the city of Largo.

A separate resolution exempts the project from property taxes, with a maximum annual impact of about $21,400 in real property taxes and about $12,300 in tangible personal property taxes. That resolution was approved 6-to-1, with Commissioner Charlie Justice casting the only no vote.

The company will have to come back to the county commission for final approval of the property tax exemption once the project is completed. At that time, the name of the company can be disclosed because the property tax, or ad valorem tax exemption, is a county program.

The Largo City Commission is expected to vote in June on its share of the tax incentives for the firm.

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