John Barrette

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June 1, 2014
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NNDA chief touts benefits to Carson City

When Northern Nevada Development Authority officials report to Carson City’s Board of Supervisors Thursday, money will be just part of the argument for continued and enhanced support.

To be sure, money will be prominent in the mix. Rob Hooper, NNDA executive director, gave a preview of his pitch on why the Carson City, development authority and regional partnership makes both dollars and sense for Nevada’s capital city. He said Friday since Jan. 1, 2010, six companies representing 220 jobs came to the city and that meant $47.5 million in estimated five-year economic impacts.

“Carson has some real challenges,” Hooper states, but they aren’t addressed without investment in various links of a economic development chain that includes NNDA. In fact, he said, the record he plans to put before the city’s governing board shows what has been done despite tough times and demonstrates significant return on investment.

At $25,000 a year for Carson’s contribution to the regional development authority, the $47.5 million impact translates into an estimated $2.3 million in tax revenues for the five years. He said that is based on a normal 5 percent spin off figure.

“That’s just using standard modeling,” he said.

He also will toss out regional figures Thursday, saying what happens in Douglas, Lyon and Storey counties has an impact in Carson City.

Hooper added, however, there is much people don’t see as links in the development chain work together to lobby at the national and state governing levels for help or to play defense on changes that could cripple local or area industries. What people see and base their judgments on are recruitment, a tough and long-term game of late, as well as retention or local growth, workforce development or other visible signs.

Hooper emphasized his view partnership and cooperation helps improve the region and the region’s hub, which is Carson City. He said on the one hand it’s seen as part of the state’s top three communities, with Las Vegas and Reno, but on the other it doesn’t carry the same baggage as those larger places.

“We’re a different place,” he said. “This truly is a magical place.”

Such talk, however, doesn’t negate those challenges he sees for the community. Among them is a lack of industrial buildings that can attract companies to move here both in the city and regionally.

“There are no buildings left in our region; we filled them all up,” he said. He said the few outliers aren’t attractive to companies that might move here.

Other challenges are a need for continuing workforce training, upgrading the focus on retaining and growing what already is here using tax abatement tools available, and a need for a capital formation system that can encourage new buildings which would suit firms.

A statewide problem that inhibits all regions in recruitment, he added, is the proposed margins tax on business. He and his colleagues in economic development have been advocating continually that the electorate reject it come November.

The capital formation idea for new buildings is in the formative stages, he said, stressing it as an initiative that eventually can pay dividends in the long term competition called economic development.

“We have to make it very easy for these companies to get a building,” Hooper said. He said the idea is to find investment capital that will spur build-to-suit lease back properties. “We’ve got to put together capital and find companies.”

He said interest from firms is there and growing as the economic recovery picks up steam. For example, he said, the day prior to addressing Carson City’s policy leaders he will be hosting interested parties from China, Texas, Arkansas, as well as Illinois’ and Pennsylvania’s most populous cities -- Chicago, and Philadelphia. “We’ve got about a dozen people coming here for the day,” he said.

Hooper also said his authority’s office is the only one in Nevada currently that accompanies Gov. Brian Sandoval’s entourage on recruitment missions outside the country. He said the next trip on that agenda is to Brazil in September.

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The Nevada Appeal Updated Jun 27, 2014 04:47PM Published Jun 1, 2014 12:39AM Copyright 2014 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.