What is Economic Development & How Does it Benefit Me?
Economic Development Definition: Economic development is the process of developing or building the economy of Wyandotte County. And by building the economy, we mean creating financial prosperity for county residents (raising the average household income). In order to raise the median household income we have to create jobs by supporting our local businesses and bringing new companies to the Dotte.
WYEDC Priorities: The Core Focus of Economic Development
Why Wyandotte Economic Development Council Is Tasked with Economic Development for the County
WYEDC is not part of the government. We are a nonprofit organization that receives funding from private companies, organizations and the county. Our budget is small but our team is highly skilled. We’ve brought in $6.1 billion in capital investment in the past ten years, creating and retaining over 19,000 new jobs.
The Why & How of Economic Development
Economic growth is the core of a community’s vitality. When businesses can easily operate and flourish they create jobs for residents, increase financial opportunities and pay taxes that can be used to improve the overall quality of life in the area. But starting and running a business is a challenging endeavor. From the established company to the entrepreneur looking to start, every business needs assistance with economic development to achieve success.
Economic Development Organizations (EDOs) exist to assist current and future business development in a number of manners. As Wyandotte County’s EDO, WYEDC works with private and public partners to:
- Implement economic development strategies to bring new businesses to the area.
- Support existing businesses with workforce solutions and training options.
- Be a resource for entrepreneurs with a dream but looking for the right direction to start. Market and promote their business area, through social media marketing awareness and hosting events.
- Help companies access public and private financial assistance, such as low-interest loans and incentives, to enable renovations, equipment upgrades, or hire employees.
- Prepare sites so sufficient unique sites, buildings, and assets are available for business expansion.
- Offer integral services for early-stage businesses, such as business planning, site selection, locating financing, and managing the uncertainty of cash flow.
New Property Taxes
Even when incentives are utilized the net new property taxes are more than those generated before development occurred. Additional property taxes help provide additional resources to the local school district, library system, community college, local and state general services.
New Sales Taxes
Often there are indirect jobs beyond the jobs being created by the new development including construction jobs, and services to support the new development.
Improved Household Income
As new jobs are brought into the community there are new opportunities to gain a higher wage job. Wyandotte County has among the highest wages paid in Kansas.
Improved Educational Attainment
New jobs often bring with them new training opportunities which allow for individuals to gain certificates or higher education.
Increased Residential Options
Job growth and investment often lead to residential housing development such as new single family, apartment, townhomes, and senior living options.
New Retail Options
Growth in the retail sector tends to be tied to demographics - disposable household income, population and population growth, and traffic counts. Wyandotte County is fortunate to have several retail nodes, population growth in certain areas of the county, and access to several highways.
Wyandotte County is the number one tourism location in Kansas. Additional growth in this sector is anticipated creating additional jobs, sales taxes, and hotel taxes (transient guest taxes). Transient guest taxes are an important tax generator as these are taxes generated from those who do not typically live in the community.
Quality of Life
Additional tax dollars generated through development are used to help support parks and recreation, maintain streets and general infrastructure.
Property taxes generated by development help support local schools. Strong school districts are generally viewed as good places to live driving residential development necessitating the interest in additional retail/commercial development.
A community with a diverse economy typically rebounds when there are economic downturns. An economy like Wyandotte County’s with a strong manufacturing/logistics base have an established property tax base along with sales and hotel taxes derived from a high number of restaurants and hotels.
Diverse Job Opportunities
Wyandotte County is fortunate to have industry sectors with available job opportunities including healthcare, logistics, manufacturing, sales/marketing, and government. From a myriad of health-related positions to truck driving, industrial maintenance technicians, warehousing, retail sales, and supervisory positions.
Increasingly, new investment is being targeted to areas that have been overlooked for renovation, rehabilitation or redevelopment. As new investment occurs new infrastructure is often also installed in connection with the project.
In many cases, new development also draws in funding partnerships that would not otherwise occur. An example is the Turner Diverging Interchange. As new investment was brought to the area, a partnership between the developer, local, state and federal agencies pooled funds to open up land for development and job creation but to also replace an aging interchange.