A second enterprise zone could be in the works for the Valley.
Over the years the Coachella Valley Enterprise Zone in the east valley has promoted business and job growth and now some west valley cities want a piece of the action.
“It’s supposed to be a regional attempt at creating jobs and transforming neighborhoods,” said Greg O’Sullivan.
O’Sullivan is sort of like the head coach guiding Cathedral City, Palm Springs and Desert Hot Springs. The 3 cities are teaming up to a make a bid for one of two openings the state has in its enterprise zone program. There are 8 applicants in all.
O’Sullivan, an economic development consultant hired to complete the application process, believes the Desert Cities Enterprise Zone proposal is on the right track in the way commercial and industrial areas have been mapped out where businesses could receive state tax breaks.
“A successful enterprise zone has to be able to demonstrate that a they’ve got a successful program to create jobs and that they have the work force to fill those jobs otherwise we don’t put down an incentive zone,” he said.
A big incentive to do business in the zone is a state tax credit for hiring. It can reach as much as $37,500 for each employee hired.
“Cathedral City got into this because it creates a wonderful opportunity for business retention and expansion,” said Jan Davison, Redevelopment Director for Cathedral City. “It also provides an incentive for hiring locals so that also with the unemployment puts our people back to work.”
Paul Thiel, President of Palm Springs Motors is already on-board. His dealership and the Auto Dealers Association of Cathedral City have committed to pick up the tab on a half a million dollars in marketing costs if the enterprise zone bid is successful.
“More employees what’s that mean for us as a car business? It means more buyers out there and if there’s more people buying cars we can hire more employees which means we get to take advantage of the enterprise credits as well,” said Thiel.
The Desert Cities Enterprise Zone proposal has to be submitted to the state by September 15th. Then it’s a waiting game. The state won’t reveal the winning applicants until sometime in December.