With the state budget tight on business recruiting dollars, a rarely used local incentive program might be what it takes to attract a new employer to the Stonebridge Business Park in Hopewell Township.
An entity -- which officials declined to identify because of a legal agreement not to discuss it -- expressed interest in moving into the park, just north of Route 851 at the Shrewsbury exit of Interstate 83, said Darrell Auterson, president and CEO at York County Economic Development Corp.
The 60-acre site sits across the street from Cracker Barrel, he said.
He declined to say what industry the business represents or how many people it would employ, saying only that it's a "significant economic development project."
The deal hinges on whether the three taxing bodies -- the county, township and South Eastern School District -- are able to craft a proposal to lure the business.
York County commissioners on Wednesday approved Auterson to serve as the county's representative on a committee of people representing each taxing entity.
By the end of the year, the committee will submit a proposal for approval by each entity to create a Tax Increment Financing district, or TIF, Auterson said.
The business would have to construct a building on the site, but the taxes generated from the increased assessment of the property (because of the capital improvements made) would be used to help the business finance a bond that would pay for any infrastructure improvements necessary if it moved to the site, he said.
The committee is expected to identify the necessary improvements, which will determine the duration of the agreement, a timeline for construction and the amount of the bond, Auterson said.
Another tool: The site currently generates about $11,000 in local taxes, said Shannon Wolf, Hopewell Township supervisor serving as a representative on the committee. Infrastructure improvements could include water and sewer or electricity-supply upgrades, he said.
Wolf said supervisors are looking favorably on the project and think it'll be "good for the township."
Auterson said the concept, named "Project Global," is still being cultivated, with Wednesday's commissioners meeting serving as the first step in moving toward a proposal.
Kenetha Hansen, executive vice president of the Economic Alliance, said the process is helping the county's business redevelopment experts explore "other tools" to attract employers to the area.
She said redevelopers previously relied on state-funded incentives and tax abatement to draw businesses, but much of that funding has been cut.
Auterson said the cuts are requiring recruiters to be more innovative on a local level, and the TIF has been used only one other time in York County -- for the development of the York Industrial Plaza.
"It's a harsh reality that there was a significant deficit ... and most programs ... have had to take a haircut," he said.
Economic development was "buzzed," he said.
-- Reach Christina Kauffman at email@example.com.