Voters asked to renew county business ad valorem exemptions

EDATE quote
Graphic by BRIAN HUGHES / News Bulletin
Published: Friday, August 15, 2014 at 12:29 PM.

CRESTVIEW — Signs encouraging voters to “Vote yes for jobs” have joined those for political candidates along North Okaloosa roads.

The Economic Development Ad valorem Tax Exemption, known as EDATE, is up for renewal during the Aug. 26 primary election.

Okaloosa County voters first approved EDATE in 2003. It granted businesses $638,000 in county ad valorem tax exemptions before it expired in March.

In exchange, EDATE generated $34.5 million in business investment, including 402 jobs that pay, at minimum, 110 percent of the prevailing average local salary, according to Economic Development Council Director Nathan Sparks.

“Over the past 10 years, that tool has improved our competitive position,” Sparks said. “Businesses have a choice as to where they invest. They go to those counties that can partner with them in their economic growth.”

Crestview attorney Ashley Rogers, speaking Tuesday during the Crestview Area Chamber of Commerce's Government Issues Committee meeting, said the county does not lose existing tax revenue when businesses qualify for EDATE.

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