It’s about more than just job development

Published 7:23 pm Tuesday, September 7, 2010

It’s not always easy to measure the impact of a job created. Just ask President Obama.

But here in Troy, at least this week, it’s a little bit easier. The city of Troy just received confirmation that it will receive just more than $2 million in EDA grant funds to be used in a $6 million sewer and water infrastructure project.

And that grant is directly tied to the creation of jobs – specifically the jobs at CGI.

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The city’s investment in terms of tax abatements and economic development incentives will reap benefits millions of times over, thanks to this grant and others like it. By being able to cite additional jobs created in the community – and the need for infrastructure improvements in the community – the city was able to secure $2 million in federal funding and $1 million in state funding through ADECA earlier this year.

That’s a $3 million savings to the taxpayers of Troy. If these grants were available, taxpayers likely would be funding the full cost of the new water well and sewage and water line improvements through increasing in rates for years to come.

As the mayor said on Monday, “these economic development incentives reap millions more to us than we’ll ever pay out.”

It’s easy to see the obvious: salaries, sales taxes, utilities paid, land leased or purchased, houses bought, and dollars spent in the community.

But the second layer of return on investment comes in the form of job creation grants, which governments can use to improve infrastructure for the entire community, and similar projects.

The truth is, economic development is about more than simply recruiting and industry to bring 50, 100 or 300 jobs to our community. It’s about understanding how to maximize the realtionship between industries – new and existing – and our community, for the benefit of both.

And that’s an investment that we like to see.