EDI Fund Approved in Prince George's County

Tracey Gold Bennett | 11/9/2011, 8:05 p.m.

The Prince George's County Council's recent approval of a $50 million Economic Development Incentive (EDI) Fund bill will result in more job opportunities for residents.

"The Economic Development Incentive Fund will create jobs, spur development and increase our commercial tax base, which over time will bring in much needed revenues for education and public safety," County Executive Rushern Baker said. "The EDI Fund has been the most important and significant legislative priority of my administration and I want to thank the Prince George's County Council for their collaboration in shaping and passing this bill."

The bill, which was originally submitted as part of the county's proposed FY 2012 budget, also specifies the purpose and uses of the EDI Fund. It includes provisions for appropriation of the $50 million over the next five fiscal years.

Primarily, the goals of the EDI Fund are to elevate the county's economic development profile and signal to the development community that Prince George's is fertile ground for new enterprises and is poised for continued growth.

Special priority will be given to projects that maximize Local Minority Business Enterprise (LMBE) participation and hiring initiatives for county residents. The Fund's potential return on investment will not be measured solely by financial returns to the fund itself, but also by tangibles such as job creation, increased commercial tax revenue and the achievement of key development goals, according to Prince George's County sources.

"This bill is a groundbreaking investment in our development and in our future. It is also a significant commitment, which required proper vetting, informed inquiry and many contributions and suggestions from the Council, the community and businesses," said Baker. "I believe that by working together, we have ensured that the Fund is flexible and clear enough for the business community while still subject to the proper checks and balances."

Gauging from experience in other jurisdictions with similar funds, early predictions from Baker's office suggest that the Fund would significantly leverage private dollars and allow the county to increase state programs for which county participation is required.

Administration of the Fund will be coordinated by the county's Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) with many county agencies and entities involved in reviewing and processing applications for financial assistance.

In order to protect the county's interests and ensure the highest degree of financial integrity, an independent and objective panel known as the Financial Advisory Council (FAC) will be appointed to provide advice and guidance on the financial viability of applicants for funds.

Additional details of the EDI Fund and will be finalized over the next couple of months. Applications will be accepted and implementation will begin in the first quarter of the 2012 calendar year. More information on the EDI Fund is available on the web: http://www.pgcedc.com/busDevelopment/EDIF.php