Economic assistance program launched
Last updated 12/8/2020 at 3:33am | View PDF
The city introduced a new program for new and existing businesses.
The Business Expansion, Attraction, and Retention Economic Incentive Program helps businesses put down roots in Shafter. For existing businesses who wish to expand, the program is able to assist them in this endeavor.
According to Bob Meadows, economic development director, “This program has two main goals to accomplish, with incentives for businesses who call Shafter home.”
The goals that drive BEAR are geared toward making Shafter a desirable place to do business.
“We want to encourage business owners and developers to invest in Shafter’s existing commercial real estate inventory by reducing processing fees, and also want to expand the city’s tax revenue base by incentivizing their investment in the historical core area,” said Meadows.
This program comes at a time when many residents are concerned that the new development, be it residential or commercial, is taking place in other parts of Shafter, with the core downtown area being forgotten.
“It is great to see Shafter growing and getting these new businesses and stuff, but I would hate to see the city grow bigger, but kind of leaving the downtown area behind,” said resident Maria Taqueiro. “I try to do a lot of my shopping in Shafter, but the downtown area seems to be getting left behind while the rest of the city is growing.”
The new program provides a 75% waiver of all city imposed engineering, planning and building fees for new or expanding businesses within the downtown, neighborhood, and general commercial zone districts in the historical core area.
Eligible commercial projects include new construction, tenant improvements, and improvements for facades, Americans with Disability Act requirements, and Ccty streets, utilities and sidewalks.
City staff will review all requests from developers and business owners for fee waivers submitted under the BEAR program to ensure the businesses involved will be generating new sales tax dollars. This program does not waive impact or consultant fees, such as those necessary for certain legal processes.
Meadows said that if any business owner or developer would like any additional information, or are interested in submitting a request to be a part of the program, they can contact him at City Hall at 661-746-5007.