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Thursday, Mar 26, 2015

Bio-med firms may bring 200 new jobs


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County commissioners Tuesday will consider approving economic incentives for two companies that potentially could bring 200 jobs to Hernando.

The jobs would pay annual wages in the upper $30,000 to lower $40,000 range, making them eligible for tax breaks under the state’s Qualified Target Industry (QTI) tax refund program.

If approved by the commission, Hernando is looking at paying more than $200,000 in matching funds during the next four years, a county report says.

Both are biomedical firms and would be located at the Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport & Technology Center.

“We’re still in the discussion stages,” County Commissioner Dave Russell said. “There’s no deal that’s been closed in terms of bringing the businesses here. But we are positioning any and all resources.”

If the incentives are approved Tuesday, both companies would take the package to their respective representatives for more discussion.

“They’re biomedical medical companies and good clean manufacturing jobs,” County Commissioner Jim Adkins said. The employees would spend money on groceries, homes, cars and other items, which would boost the local economy, he said.

Adkins credited the work of Valerie Pianta, economic development supervisor, and County Administrator Len Sossamon, who took over permanently the duties of economic development in June after a six-month trial.

Adkins said Hernando is attractive to prospective businesses because of an impact fee moratorium in the county and the absence of a state sales tax.

Pianta said Monday she was bound by confidentiality agreements and thus could not name the two companies. The county report identifies them by code names.

“Project Mountain” is described as a leading research, development and manufacturing firm that produces medical devices and products. It plans to expand and open a manufacturing facility. The company wants to buy 28 acres and build a 100,000-square-foot manufacturing facility, investing more than $5.8 million in the building, manufacturing equipment and furnishings. There would be a minimum of 150 jobs with an average annual wage of $40,600.

“Project Asterisk” is described as a life sciences/biotechnology research and development manufacturer interested in expanding to a manufacturing facility in Florida. The company plans to spend more than $30 million renovating an existing building and buying equipment and furnishings. It would create at least 55 jobs in three years with an average annual wage of $37,748.

The latest proposals come two months after Hernando commissioners approved three economic incentive packages bringing an estimated 73 jobs to the county.

Those companies are Barrette Outdoor Living, Tradesmith LLC and Premier Pharmacy Labs. The economic incentives total $219,000, to be paid out during the next five years.

(352) 544-5290

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