When I approached this, I wanted to create a mathematical model that made it possible to reach our $3.8 million new revenue goal by 2020. If we can do that, we can pave and do all the other city services needed each year in a sustainable fashion.
In the prior We Need New Revenues post, I laid out several sources of new revenues that would start rebuilding our ability to provide all city services in a sustainable, year to year fashion. So now we are up to other new jobs needed by 2020. I hope to create, over the next five years, approximately 350 jobs averaging $50,000 per job and another 600 jobs averaging $40,000 per job. That, in turn, would bring in an additional $726,250 per year in new income tax revenue.
Let’s start with the general and work to the specific. We have land, commercial and industrial buildings, an airport, mall, downtown, etc., all of which have potential to bring these jobs to town. At the end of the day, it’s important to hit the revenue goals. If opportunities presented over the next five years change the beginning mix of jobs as I’ve laid it out here, as long as we hit the revenue goals and can complete needed public services, I’m not going to get too hung up on the actual job mix. If property values raise and we beat the property tax goal, that just means we need less new jobs to meet the goal. Keep your eye on the end game.
So how do we get there? One bite at a time. The good news is that we already have a head start before we even begin working on the five year plan.
Yesterday marked the ribbon cutting for the beautiful new Arlington Pointe, a nursing and retirement facility located on Hendrickson Road. This addition to Middletown will add 200 jobs (about 70% medical related) and new property taxes to our city this year. The facility boasts 99 private rooms, a full physical therapy room, two physical therapy pools, and much more. It is a beautiful state of the art facility.
NTE is under construction and will bring 35 full time higher paying jobs when completed. Cohen Electronics Recycling is planning to open this spring with 10-15 new full time positions. AK Steel Research and Innovation Center, under construction at the highway, hopes to add 15 new engineers over the next several years. A new manufacturer will be moving into the MADE industrial complex with 25 new full time positions in the next month or so. Add them together and you’ve added 285 new full time positions in the city before we start on the plan.
Let’s be honest. The East End is the largest opportunity for new development available to the city. AK Steel’s new facility is under construction. Planning Commission approved the new $2 million gas station at the old putt putt which will begin construction this spring. The new gas station and restaurant combination brings a much needed gas station to the east end ramp, but also adds new jobs and property taxes for the city.
Beyond that, we have almost 600 acres to be developed on the east side of the highway. We’ll be working with Atrium, AK Steel, Fischer Homes and the area property owners to market those properties for new, upper end development over the next five years.
We are at a fortunate position right now, in that we will be receiving a lot of one-time construction income tax from the various new projects I’ve been describing above. Those funds can be used to create further economic incentives for new business or to provide the infrastructure needed in roads or utilities to bring a new project to construction.
Most of the current airport is leased and full. There are, however, acres of opportunities to expand operations at the airport. Staff went to Detroit in October 2015 to meet with FAA to present a plan to expand airport operations to bring in new jobs and new business. Under the current plan, all airport operations occur at the cluster of buildings at the lower right hand corner of the picture below. Our hope over time is to move the skydiving operation from its current location to the upper portion of the airport, represented by the yellow bar at the top of the picture labeled “Phase II Recreational Focus.” While talks are merely conceptual at this point, I could see expansion of the recreation area to include restaurants and other recreational activities in a cluster across the top of the airport. People come to sky dive for the weekend. We should work with private business to provide other activities to keep them in the area, enjoying their weekend, and spending their money at Middletown businesses. To move this forward, we would need to run a new road off of Carmody and would need to bring utilities to the site.
There are also opportunities for new commercial and industrial aviation-related businesses by opening up new acreage by adding a new road off of Hook. By adding a road and access to utilities, we can open up tens of acres for future development, represented by the blue cluster of buildings on the left side of the picture below and labeled “Phase II Industrial/Commercial Campus.”
FAA was open to the concepts listed above. The next step for us is to develop a new Airport Layout Plan (ALP) for FAA consideration that would formalize this type of airport layout and permit us to use FAA grants for some of the construction and development process. We are starting that process now. It will likely take all of 2016 to create the ALP and obtain FAA approval. We will be working during that time on designing what will be required to implement this plan when approved in its final form.
Other Development Opportunities
As we get the new Economic Development Director on board and we get organized and efficient in daily operation, we have multiple other sites available to market and develop for higher paying jobs in Middletown. MADE industrial park still has 40 acres available. The Magnode property is still undeveloped with 40 acres available. Greentree still has 6 acres available, and we have another 50 acres or so of individual parcels that all can be used to create additional business in Middletown.
As I said, this is a marathon, not a sprint. It will be a daily grind to find, recruit and retain new business and to help our existing businesses thrive and expand over the next five years. If opportunities change or some piece of this beginning plan becomes unrealistic, then we change gears and focus on what we CAN do to move the city forward and meet our end goals. Adapt and overcome….
With the large number of acres, different types of sites available, and property owners now working with Economic Development staff to better market property for development, I believe we can meet this goal by 2020.