Fresno City Hall should have the option of reducing certain industrial impact fees if it could lead to economy-boosting projects, Mayor Ashley Swearengin said Monday.
"Creating jobs is the most important issue we face in Fresno," Swearengin said. "We have to make it easier for industrial businesses to expand and locate here. This incentive is an important part of what the city can do to create jobs."
Swearengin wants the city manager to have authority to reduce police, fire and street fees for industrial projects. Developers of industrial projects would pay the other fees. The incentives would not apply to residential and commercial projects.
City coffers would get more tax revenue as property values increased, Swearengin said.
Swearengin is focusing much of her second-term effort on jobs. Among her goals is making the city more inviting to business, especially industry. She and Larry Westerlund, the city's new economic development director, want new industries to come here and established local industries to expand.
The same is true for just about every city in the state. Swearengin is counting on incentives to help Fresno hold its own.
Westerlund said the policy would last for a year. He said the administration would periodically report to the City Council on key benchmarks: Jobs created, taxes generated, impact fees lost.
City Manager Bruce Rudd said the policy "positions Fresno to be an equally attractive competitor for recruiting industrial development to our city."
The City Council is slated to review the proposed policy Thursday. Swearengin already has two council supporters.
"This is a great local policy to attract industry to Fresno," Council President Steve Brandau said.
Added Council Member Sal Quintero: "This is a step in the right direction."
The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6272 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his City Beat blog at fresnobee.com/city-beat.