Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report
Want to know what the City is doing to attract new investment and economic growth, how much it's costing, and which companies are benefiting? Now that information is only a click away.
Starting Tuesday, a list of all active efforts by the City of San Antonio's Economic Development Department to spur job growth and the economy is available online.
The City created the publicly accessible online database of all economic incentive agreements it is monitoring to provide more transparency, according to the announcement released Tuesday.
Economic development agreements are designed to encourage job creation and retain target industries, develop and keep high-wage positions, and promote new capital investments that result in economic growth. They can include tax abatements, tax rebates, grants, or other methods used to attract new investment and spur the expansion of existing businesses in San Antonio.
In June, City Council approved an incentive deal with British e-commerce company The Hut Group that City and company officials say will bring more than 160 tech jobs to San Antonio. The deal included a $500,000 performance-based economic development grant from the City and a $250,000 Bexar County Innovation Fund grant.
“Transparency is an important part of the economic development process," stated City Manager Sheryl Sculley in a press release. "It is a tool that helps us keep the public informed of the benefits that stem from these agreements. Along with the three-year commitment to work with OpenGov that Council endorsed in 2016, these efforts aim to provide a simple-to-use platform for citizens to access information about specific economic development projects.”
Free to use, the database provides information on incentive agreements and amendments, and includes the names of companies involved in the agreements. Contractual terms and compliance data, such as number of jobs created and wage requirements, are also included.
The City's Economic Development Department monitors all aspects of agreements that are approved by City Council, and compliance of all project milestones and contract terms.
The database currently includes 61 agreements approved through Dec. 31, 2017, with companies such as Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas, which received a tax abatement in 2009; Indo-MIM, which obtained a program grant and tax abatement in 2015; and Hulu, which got a tax abatement last year. The list will be updated annually, City officials said.