The Norman Transcript

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April 22, 2013

Density, budget talks to continue as city council considers creation of economic advisory board

(Continued)

NORMAN —

The proposed policy does set requirements for incentives including quality jobs creation, requiring good wages and health benefits.

The advisory committee would serve as advisors to the Norman Economic Development Authority. The advisory committee would make recommendations only and would have no power to broker deals or assign incentives to a business. The Authority is comprised of city council members.  The advisory board will be made up of volunteer residents with expertise in economic development, banking and related areas.

The city council’s Business and Community Affairs Committee identified a need for a public trust authority to facilitate potential economic development incentives as a priority in August 2011. The purpose is to provide incentives and bonding capacity to the city and to work in conjunction with the Norman Economic Development Coalition. The Coalition has been recruiting businesses to Norman for 17 years.

The Norman Economic Development Coalition was formed as a private 501(c)(6) in 1997 and has been actively assisting existing businesses, recruiting new businesses and potential employers to Norman since its creation. But NEDC cannot issue bonds or offer the kinds of incentives possible through the newly established economic authority.

At this time, no projects have been identified and there is no dedicated funding source for the Authority. Having the Authority and its advisory board in place sets up a mechanism for the city to use should an appropriate project come along, say supporters.

NEDC began as a collaborative effort between the city of Norman, Chamber of Commerce, and University of Oklahoma, and was expanded to include the Moore-Norman Technology Center as an equal contributor about four years ago, according to city staff notes. NEDC would continue to recruit business to Norman under the new partnership but could refer projects to the city’s advisory board and the economic development authority.

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