Largo approves incentive to help aerospace manufacturer expand

A Largo aerospace manufacturer looking to expand its facility took a step toward landing a $235,000 incentive June 4 when city commissioners unanimously voted to approve the tax refund program.

LARGO — A Largo aerospace manufacturer looking to expand its facility took a step toward landing a $235,000 incentive June 4 when city commissioners unanimously voted to approve the tax refund program.

The aviation/aerospace manufacturer, which has requested confidentiality allowed by state statutes, has been in the Largo market for 24 years and is seeking to consolidate its out-of-state production facility to Pinellas County.

The two-year $7.3 million project would include the construction of a 40,000-square-foot facility, substantial equipment upgrades, and bring an estimated 47 full-time jobs to the area over a three-year span.

The company is also considering a site in California, according to county officials.

“The manufacturer is looking at program consolidation from another state, so we’re in competition in deciding whether or not to ship a lot of the jobs that we currently have here out to another location and another community or to bring them here to the city of Largo,” Largo Economic Development Manager Teresa Brydon said.

The firm would receive $5,000 for each of those jobs, which would pay at least 115% of the average annual wage in the county, which is $47,273.

Largo and Pinellas County would each contribute $23,500 toward the total $235,000 incentive offered by the Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund Program, with the state paying the remainder.

However, Brydon pointed out that the refund would only be reimbursed after the company has created the jobs.

“I think it’s important to remember that QTI programs are based on the work being done,” she said. “So, they have to hire the individuals before they receive any rebates back. So, this is a situation where if they don’t do the jobs, they don’t receive the cash.”

According to county data, the new positions would create an earnings impact of about $4 million and the construction/renovations and new equipment would produce another $6 million.

The firm is also seeking a property tax exemption of up to 10 years, with a maximum annual impact of $21,400 in real property taxes and $12,300 in tangible personal property taxes.

On May 21, county commissioners approved the incentive and also adopted a resolution allowing the company to begin its project without losing the ability to receive the exemption.

County commissioners will vote on the exemption at a future date when the company’s name and terms of the incentive will be fully disclosed. At that point, the Largo commission will vote on it.

City commissioners also will vote on the incentive a second and final time during their next regular meeting Tuesday, June 18, at City Hall.

In other news

• Commissioners voted 7-0 to authorize the purchase and installation of playground equipment at Southwest Recreation Complex for an amount not to exceed $170,000 from Rep Services Inc.

A portion of the playground was burned last year in a fire and replaced.

The project, according to officials, will replace the remaining structures.

• Commissioners voted to move forward with an application for $125,000 in grant funds from the Florida Department of Transportation to rehabilitate medians along East Bay Drive from Missouri Avenue to 60th Street North. The city has previously used the grant funds to beautify medians along East Bay Drive, Walsingham Road, Missouri Avenue, Seminole Boulevard and Ulmerton Road.

• City leaders agreed to pay Morelli Landscaping, Inc. almost $51,000 to landscape the area between the Central Park Performing Arts Center and Central Park Drive. According to city staff, the area is overgrown with vegetation and the trees are in decline. The proposal provides trees of varying heights and plant material that will provide color and are low maintenance.