Monday, November 24th, 2014

Fitz-O-Meter

Create a non-compete policy between communities in the Fourth Frontier Program


"Any local government in Cuyahoga County can participate in the Fourth Frontier program, as long as they agree to not provide tax incentives or other public resources to lure companies away from other cities also participating in the Fourth Frontier program."


Sources:

Ed FitzGerald, "The FitzGerald Jobs Agenda: The Fourth Frontier & Strategic Development Principles," campaign policy statement, Aug. 17, 2010

Updates

All 59 Cuyahoga County communities sign on to anti-poaching plan

Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald admits he never thought all 59 communities in Cuyahoga County would sign an anti-poaching agreement to not pursue businesses in other communities in the county.

It took longer than expected, but at the end of January, Middleburg Heights Mayor Gary Starr became the final signer of the "Business Attraction and Anti-Poaching Protocol.”

FitzGerald told the audience at his state of the county address Feb. 19 that the county has never been so united.  

"When I set out to bring every community in this county to the table, there were plenty of skeptics,” he said. "But all 59 communities sat down with us, and all 59 communities signed on to affirm not just our mutual goals, but our unrelenting belief in this county"s future.”

FitzGerald released guidelines for his anti-poaching agreement in September, 2011 and officials in several cities quickly signed on. But there was some resistance. Mayors in several cities, including Westlake and Beachwood, said they would not support it.  

The policy asks suburbs to agree to not pursue businesses in other communities in the county. If a company makes the first move, FitzGerald wants the cities to notify the company"s home community, unless the business demands confidentiality. And the pact makes it clear there is no commitment to tax-revenue sharing when a business relocates within the county, only that discussion is encouraged.

Ed Jerse, director of regional collaboration for the county, spent last year meeting with city officials and speaking at council meetings.

It took some doing. In Mayfield Heights, council voted 4-3 last October to approve the agreement after voting against it twice earlier in the year.

FitzGerald hopes the success with the anti-poaching agreement leads to other regional cooperation. He plans to reduce the number of 9-1-1 emergency dispatch centers from 48 to 4 in the next 10 years.

He said he has asked every mayor to rank services and how many of them would be amenable to regionalism.

"Police and fire are the toughest,” he said. "But maybe we can do road maintenance, road repair and garbage pickup.”

As for the promise to create a non-compete policy between communities - on the Fitz-O-Meter, the dial can now move from In the Works to Promise Kept.
 

Sources:

The Plain Dealer via cleveland.com, "Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald describes successes and future plans at state-of-the-county address,” Feb. 19, 2013

Cuyahoga County news release, All Cuyahoga County Communities Agree to Business Attraction and Anti-Poaching Protocol, Jan. 24, 2013

Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, state of the county address, Feb. 19, 2013

Ed FitzGerald, "The FitzGerald Jobs Agenda: The Fourth Frontier & Strategic Development Principles," campaign policy statement, Aug. 17, 2010

Ed FitzGerald, "Cuyahoga County anti-poaching protocol,” draft agreement

The Plain Dealer, "Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald proposes business no-poaching agreement for communities,” June 9, 2011
   
The Plain Dealer, "County Executive Ed FitzGerald's anti-poaching proposal faces hurdles,” Sept. 25, 2011

The Plain Dealer, "Parma Mayor Dean DePiero signs Cuyahoga County's anti-poaching agreement,” Sept. 30, 3011
 

Anti-poaching plan in the hands of Cuyahoga County mayors

Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald is going to find out how good his skills are as a salesman.

FitzGerald, who  has made regional cooperation a priority, promised during his campaign to create a non-compete policy between communities. The reward for those that sign on: favorable treatment in his Fourth Frontier Program for economic development.

In September, FitzGerald released guidelines for his anti-poaching agreement. He had released a draft of the agreement in June, but softened some points in the final version after soliciting feedback from mayors.

The policy asks suburbs to agree to not pursue businesses in other communities in the county. If a company makes the first move, FitzGerald wants the cities notify the company"s home community, unless the business demands confidentiality. And the pact makes it clear there is no commitment to tax-revenue sharing when a business relocates within the county, only that discussion is encouraged.

The question now is how many of the county"s 59 communities will join.

Parma Mayor Dean DePiero signed the agreement Sept. 29, 2011, saying it would help keep Cuyahoga County viable and business-friendly.

"I think that it"s important as a mayor in this region to think more regionally in a lot of ways but especially in economic development,” DePiero said then. "That does not mean stealing a business from another community. That"s not development.”

In June, Berea officials signed a draft of the document, and the county planned to follow up about signing the revised document.

Pepper Pike officials also have indicated that they will sign it.

But others have expressed skepticism.

Mayors of Beachwood and Westlake, for example, have raised objections to the policy.

"I"m not sure there"s a need for it,” Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough told The Plain Dealer. He is also steadfastly against revenue sharing.

Initially, the county hoped to have communities signed by the end of September. Ed Jerse, the director of regional collaboration for the county, had said, though, that realistically it would take some for leadership in each city to discuss it.

FitzGerald has moved this promise from concept to plan in action. And if he can sell it to communities across Cuyahoga County, we"ll be able to move the Fitz-O-Meter to Promise Kept.

For the time being, though, we"ve pointed the meter at In The Works.
 

Sources:

Ed FitzGerald, "The FitzGerald Jobs Agenda: The Fourth Frontier & Strategic Development Principles," campaign policy statement, Aug. 17, 2010
   
Ed FitzGerald, "The FitzGerald Jobs Agenda: The Fourth Frontier & Strategic Development Principles," campaign policy statement, Aug. 17, 2010

Ed FitzGerald,"Cuyahoga County anti-poaching protocol,” draft agreement

The Plain Dealer, "Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald proposes business no-poaching agreement for communities,” June 9, 2011
   
The Plain Dealer, "County Executive Ed FitzGerald's anti-poaching proposal faces hurdles,” Sept. 25, 2011

The Plain Dealer, "Parma Mayor Dean DePiero signs Cuyahoga County's anti-poaching agreement,” Sept. 30, 3011

Draft outlines anti-compete policy that FitzGerald hopes to have in place by September

Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald has touted the need for communities and Cuyahoga County government to work together for economic growth.

Toward that end, he promised to create a non-compete policy between communities that participate in his Fourth Frontier Program, an economic plan he proposed that would make use of a $100 million development fund to promote growth.

"Any local government in Cuyahoga County can participate in the Fourth Frontier program, as long as they agree to not provide tax incentives or other public resources to lure companies away from other cities also participating in the Fourth Frontier program," FitzGerald said in a position paper he posted online during the campaign.

FitzGerald presented a draft of  an "anti-poaching protocol” to representatives from Cleveland and about 20 suburbs in June and said he hopes by September to have them sign on for the next three years.

Mayors and city managers who sign the agreement would be allowed to offer financial assistance to companies looking to move from another community in the county, but they would be required to notify the neighbor so that community could woo the business.

FitzGerald's financial carrot: cities that sign the deal would be favored for a slice of the economic development fund.

The proposal calls for a one-stop website listing participating cities' business resources and databases of available properties. It bans cities from initiating contact to encourage businesses to relocate. And it requires cities to tell businesses considering a move that county assistance may hinge on the consent of the affected city.

Long a proponent of regional collaboration, FitzGerald denounced competition among suburbs to land the American Greetings corporate headquarters this spring, when the company announced it would leave Brooklyn.

The move -- and the realization that Brooklyn stands to lose about $3 million a year in income taxes when the card company moves to Westlake -- has fueled talk about poaching.

The draft agreement suggests tax-sharing as a way to "mitigate the adverse impact of a relocation." FitzGerald said he decided not to require a community that gains a business to share a portion of the payroll taxes with the losing community, though he favors the idea.

FitzGerald"s proposal is a start toward fulfilling this pledge. On the Fitz-O-Meter, we move the dial to In The Works.

Sources:

Ed FitzGerald, "The FitzGerald Jobs Agenda: The Fourth Frontier & Strategic Development Principles," campaign policy statement, Aug. 17, 2010

The Plain Dealer, "Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald proposes business no-poaching agreement for communities,” June 9, 2011

Ed FitzGerald, "Cuyahoga County anti-poaching protocol,” draft agreement