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Recession Recovery and Beyond

Study Committee Meeting November 3, 2010 Clanzenetta “Mickee” Brown JCCI Study Planner mickee@jcci.org

In attendance: Meeting Attendees: Elaine Brown (Chair), Donald Anderson, Jack Baker, Carolyn Bissonnette, Sarah Boren, Lee Brown, Dan Butcher, Dennis G. Collins, David Davis, Joyce Davis, John Edwards, Bruce Ferguson, V. Todd Ferreira, Bill Gassett, Mike Griffis, Robert Hawkins, David Johnson, John D. Kennedy, Bill Larson, Jack Manilla, Conrad Markle, Robert Myers, Ed Preston, Sherrie Raulerson, Granville Reed, Jim Robinson, Kathy Sandusky, Beth Slater, Bobby Steel, Brian Teeple, Joe Whitaker, Josh Woods, and Brian Yarbrough [If your name does not appear, but you were in attendance, please let us know.] Staff Members: Mickee Brown, Skip Cramer, and Katie Ross Meeting Time: Noon to 1:30 PM Discussion: Darryl Register, Executive Director for the Baker County Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Commission welcomed the group and introduced study chair Elaine Brown as well as JCCI executive director Skip Cramer, and JCCI study planner Mickee Brown. Elaine also welcomed everyone and asked the group to review the issue statement, which frames the work that the study committee is responsible for carrying out per the JCCI Board of Directors. Elaine also invited those attending to participate in the upcoming study meetings. She explained that when the study process ends the committee will develop a set of recommendations that serve the needs of all seven Northeast Florida counties. At Elaine’s request, JCCI Executive Director, Skip Cramer, provided background information for study. Skip explained that after the study ends in May 2011, a group of volunteers will spend two years advocating for the implementation of the study recommendations. He also reminded the group that they can follow the study online by visiting the JCCI website (www.jcci.org), which has a link to the study webpage. Skip shared that JCCI has completed three previous regional studies all of which included partner county meetings to encourage diverse opinions and inputs. Skip thanked WorkSource, Cornerstone, and Bank of America for their generous support of the study. He also thanked Darryl for his efforts today and his participation on the study management team. After the group completed self-introductions, Elaine introduced the day’s presenters – Darryl Register and Ed Preston, Director of Planning and Zoning for Baker County. Ed’s Presentation Baker County began as a farming community, but after the Great Depression the economy was fueled by moonshine. When that industry left, the county became stagnant. Even the loss of an illegal industry can be devastating to a local economy. Over the years, other Northeast Florida counties have enjoyed greater population growth than Baker County. From 1990 to 2008 Duval County averaged 9,888 new residents per year, while Baker County averaged 426 new residents over the same period. Similarly rural, Nassau County averaged almost three times as many new residents (1,439 per year) as Baker County. Baker County was always - and still is - a very small county. Baker is home to 10,000 workers and 5,000 jobs, more than half of the county’s workers leave to work in other communities. The largest employers in the community include Wal-Mart, Northeast Florida Hospital, Baker County School Board, and Baker County Correctional Institute.


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The county’s largest asset is land, which is not as valuable as it was prior to the recession. The challenges for Baker County are creating economic opportunities, overcoming infrastructure barriers to growth (roads, water, sewer), and maintaining the county’s rural character. Economic development milestones in Baker County include:  Cedar Creek DRI – This project would have included $65 Million in improvements to I-10. The project has been discontinued. The raw land is worth more than the improved property.  County-wide Utility Master Plan – Baker County has no water or sewer system and every single home outside Macclenny is on a septic tank.  I-10 Variance – The variance was approved (at level “C” - seeking level “D”) to allow more trips on I-10, which will prepare the area for the increased traffic that comes with growth at JaxPort and planned industrial park growth.  Thoroughfare Master Plan – The plan is in the approval process with the Department of Community Affairs (DCA).  Growth Management Strategy – Baker County did not experience growth like many other Florida Counties, eliminating the need for growth management policies when the practice was introduced by the State in 1985. Baker County wants to grow, but that growth continues to be slow.  EAR / CIP / Concurrency Management - None of the roads, schools, or utilities in Baker County is over capacity. The major roads in Baker County are built by the state or federal governments. Baker County’s 400 miles of dirt roads must be graded weekly. Baker County is also located within the Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) that includes Duval, Clay, Nassau, St. Johns, and Nassau Counties. [Staff Note: Per Cornerstone, “FTZs are physical zones within the FTZ license holder's operating area in which goods arriving from a foreign county may be temporarily held pending further shipment to another foreign country or into the United States. While in the zone the goods are treated, for customs tariff purposes, as if never arriving in the U.S. and therefore import duties are not accessed until the goods are removed from the zone into the U.S. In some cases processing of the goods may change form such that subsequent duty on the processed product may be lower than the total duty applied to the components parts. The Jacksonville Port Authority is the license holder for the region.”] Baker County’s growth had also been slow because there was very little available land prior to 2004, when International Paper sold 47,000 acres of land on one afternoon. Developers began showing interests in the County and submitting plans for large scale projects. The Baker County Commission has proactively linked growth and job creation. “…the Commission spells planning as J.O.B.S.” Still, Baker County is a sparsely populated county. Consider that a oneacre lot in Baker County is considered high density, while a one-acre lot in Leon County (Tallahassee) is considered sprawl. Darryl’s Presentation Baker County’s assets include proximity to I-10 and CSX rail lines. The County’s primary asset is real estate. While several large tracts of land are available, there is no built infrastructure with the exception of the Macclenny Products Building. Today, most prospects are looking for built space, which Baker County does not have.  Enterprise East (251 acres)  Enterprise West (81 acres / 3 businesses are located on this property, including Sanderson Pipe Corporation)  Woodstock (1,500 Acres)  Jackson/Shaw (1,225 Acres) 2434 Atlantic Boulevard

Jacksonville, Florida 32207 904-396-3052 Fax: 904-398-1469

www.jcci.org


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Barber Commerce Center (County owned land) Macclenny Products Building (Now vacant)

The County does offer incentives including a 10 year ad valorem tax rebate program, no impact fees for industrial development, and tax incentives for DRIs that include land for industrial projects that provide high wage jobs for at least 15 percent of the population. The State of Florida offers incentives to companies that provide high wage jobs, which are defined as 115 percent of a county’s average annual wages. In Baker County the average annual wage is $25,957 in Duval County it is $42,826. “A high wage job in Baker County is VERY different than a high wage job in Duval County.” The strategies for attracting such jobs and determining what those jobs are will vary county-to-county as well. Enterprise Florida has identified eight targeted industries: Baker County is focusing its attention on Manufacturing and Distribution. Questions and Answers Q. Who are Baker County’s partners? Baker is a member of Cornerstone’s sevencounty partnership with Clay, Nassau, Duval, Putnam, Flagler, and St. Johns Counties. Baker is also a member of the 14 county North Central RACEC (Rural Area of Critical Economic Concern) that includes Bradford, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lafayette, Levy, Madison, Putnam, Suwannee, Taylor, and Union counties [Staff Note: According to Enterprise Florida, “Florida’s Rural Areas of Critical Economic Concern (RACEC) are regions comprised of rural communities that have been adversely affected by extraordinary economic events or natural disasters. The designation of the three RACECs in Florida allows these regions certain provisions for economic development initiatives such as waived criteria and requirements for economic development programs. Additionally, funding is provided to the regions to help perform economic research, site selection, and marketing to produce a catalytic economic opportunity and a site in each RACEC designated for targeted economic development.”] Q. When Peter Rummell spoke to the Recession Recovery study committee on October 20th, he suggested the need for branding the region. What is Baker County’s brand? Based on the work that has been done so far, particularly the I-10 variance, Baker County’s brand is Manufacturing and Distribution. This is also one of Enterprise Florida’s targeted industries. Though Baker County is a bedroom community, the economic development focus is job creation first and residential development second. [Staff note: The targeted industry for the North Central RACEC is “building components design and manufacturing, and logistics and distribution, which consists of inventory management, data processing, and use of cutting-edge technologies.”]

2434 Atlantic Boulevard

Jacksonville, Florida 32207 904-396-3052 Fax: 904-398-1469

www.jcci.org


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Q. What was the unemployment rate prior to the recession? Register: Today the unemployment rate is 10.8 percent. Prior to the recession the rate was 3 percent. Q. What is the level of educational attainment in Baker County? Is there a county that Baker would like to emulate? In 10-20 years what do you want Baker County to look like? Register: The educational level in Baker County is comparable to the rest of Northeast Florida. [Staff note: According to the US Census: 2006-2008 American Community Survey 3-Year Estimates the education attainment levels for Baker County residents over the age of 25 are as follows. Less than 9th grade - 8%; 9th to 12th grade, no diploma - 16.7%; High school Diploma/GED - 75.4%; Some college, no degree - 11.9%; Associate's degree - 7.7%; Bachelor's degree or beyond - 6.3%] Fifty percent of the land in Baker County will not be developed because 40 percent is government owned (state and federal parks) and 10 percent is wetlands that can not be developed. This County is and may remain a rural, bedroom community of Jacksonville. Nonetheless, our goal is to provide residents opportunities to work in the same community where they live. This is being done through planned development projects that focus on job creation. The development of an inland port in Baker County means that container truck drivers can make four trips per day from JaxPort to offload shipments bound for destinations throughout the United States – Baker County will benefit greatly from this project. Baker County is a unique community that is not modeled on one area. We do know that we do not want to look like Orange Park – traffic, sprawl, etc. To maintain the rural character of the county all major industrial and residential development is planned along the I-10/CSX corridor. Q. What has been the impact of incentives on job growth in Baker County? Register: Hanson Roof and Tile used the Tax Rebate incentive. Unfortunately the plant closed due to the recession. Because the company was not opened long enough it did not receive the rebate monies. Q. Is Baker County planning to focus on Clean Energy, a recently added Enterprise Florida targeted industry? Register: In the past two weeks, the Chamber has received two calls regarding solar energy projects. These projects are labor intensive on the front end when the facilities are being built. Once up and running, the need for labor declines significantly. Q. How is Baker County combating the lack of spec space? Register: Baker County reviews the proposals from E-Florida (Enterprise Florida), but we do not have the available space. Prospects interested in locating businesses in Baker County must invest in building facilities or the County will need to attract investors willing to build space with a plan to draw tenants. Q. How picky is Baker County about the types of job-creating development considered? Would a slaughterhouse that supports the local food movement make sense for example? Register: Baker County has to follow the same environmental standards as everyone else. It would be extremely difficult to open a new slaughterhouse facility in this community. Q. It was stated that Baker has no water or sewer service, but there are fire hydrants along Highway 90? Register: Those hydrants belong to either Duval County (City of Baldwin) or the City of Macclenny in Baker County. Only Macclenny has water and sewer service at present. Q. How does the tax rebate incentive program work in Baker County alongside the ad valorem tax sharing program with RACEC? 2434 Atlantic Boulevard

Jacksonville, Florida 32207 904-396-3052 Fax: 904-398-1469

www.jcci.org


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Register: The two programs are not connected. The tax rebate program is a Baker County incentive that is not tied to RACEC. The ad valorem tax sharing program via RACEC involves those projects that come from another set of economic development efforts. The Baker County share of ad valorem taxes via RACEC is less than 5 percent based on a set of criteria that includes population, poverty rates, per capita income, and other factors – but there was also no cost to participate – it is a win-win. RACEC has been around since 2007, but no projects have resulted from the partnership yet. Q. Why did Wal-Mart locate its distribution center in Baker County instead of Duval County and why? How can Baker County duplicate that success? Bobby Steele, General Manager of the Wal-Mart Distribution Center: Wal-Mart’s distribution centers are typically located in rural communities. The Baker facility is in a great location that serves Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina. For its move Baker County Wal-Mart received various tax breaks and free water. Lake City Community College (now Florida Gateway College) assisted Wal-Mart with training through its Banner Center for Logistics and Distribution. We have found that workers in rural communities tend to be a bit better. The turnover has been minimal and no new employees have been hired in 1.5 years. Housing was the major concern because there were so few rentals locally. Many relocating employees moved to the Westside of Jacksonville or Lake City. Today, almost all of those employees live in Baker County. Q. How much land does the county own? Register: The County owns about two-hundred acres in total - 125 Acres at Enterprise East, 145 Acres at the Barber Center, and 15 Acres at Enterprise West. Q. Is it preferable that everyone who lives in Baker County also work in Baker County? Register: Every day 52 percent of Baker County workers leave the county for work. Local spending is one of the reasons that we would prefer more people to work in the county. It is likely that many Baker County commuters spend money outside the county, which negatively affects local businesses. The chair asked the group to consider the challenges, opportunities, and issues to be addressed regarding growth in Baker County.           

Challenges High tech companies may be looking for a community that offers a different kind of, perhaps less rural, lifestyle. Lack of cultural and social amenities in the county. Real estate is an asset, but there are no buildings on that land. Developing strategies for attracting industry without having infrastructure in place. An asset-based marketing campaign that focuses on the community’s strengths. Attracting private investment Opportunities Baker County offers its residents clean living and great schools. The Northeast Florida Region offers abundant amenities, including sports, beaches, and cultural activities. Solid information technology infrastructure. Not all rural counties have broadband capacity – Baker does. Land is available and inexpensive, which could be a plus when the economy improves. The workforce is committed, loyal, ethical, and willing to work. Issues to be addressed 2434 Atlantic Boulevard

Jacksonville, Florida 32207 904-396-3052 Fax: 904-398-1469

www.jcci.org


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Engage developers with a vision for key areas in Baker County. Washington DC must approve the dredging of the port in Jacksonville. Focus on selling Baker County’s location near the I-10/I-75 junction. It takes three days for a container leaving JaxPort to arrive in West Jacksonville (Moncrief Rail Yard). The development of an inland port 50 - 60 miles outside of Jacksonville, on I-10 can eliminate that delay.

The group also discussed whether or not the Cornerstone counties are working well together AND how the seven counties might work more effectively for greater regional economic competitiveness.  Northeast Florida’s ports are an economic driver beyond Duval and Nassau Counties. It is important to determine the industries that support port operations at strategic areas offsite from the ports. “What are the goods and services needed as we push away from the port?”  The region needs economic development without walls. The perception is that Cornerstone is working to serve the interest of the City of Jacksonville, which may or may not be a reality.  Today the counties are working better together than every before as a result of Cornerstone. This regional partnership keeps the counties from going to war with each other and working toward the same ends. Remember the issues surrounding the location for the World Golf Village.  The politicians in the region are not well enough informed about Cornerstone or the need for regional cooperation.  Regionalism – beyond Cornerstone - is becoming more evident in Northeast Florida – the Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) has been directed by the Florida legislature to study regional transportation and the TPO (Transportation Planning Organization) invites Baker County to participate though it is not one of the covered counties.  Environmental issues often have economic impacts that affect large geographic areas prompting the need for regional, multistate partnerships. In the future we can expect more regionalism.  This region has to work together; the individual counties will not be as successful going it alone, so the goal should be nothing less than cooperation. Other comments  The Cornerstone Regional Partnership has been very beneficial for Baker County. The Baker economic development office has limited funds and staff. Cornerstone is able to market Baker County equally and as a peer to the six other partner counties.  Like other counties, Baker County was also focused on attracting companies that provide good jobs, not just any jobs. Elaine asked the committee to complete the Group Process Check form, invited the group to attend the Clay County meeting on November 8, 2010, and adjourned the meeting at 1:35 PM.

2434 Atlantic Boulevard

Jacksonville, Florida 32207 904-396-3052 Fax: 904-398-1469

www.jcci.org


SC Meeting Summary 11 03 10 Baker Final