NLC Offers New Economic Development Assistance to Cities

Article excerpt

NLC and Northeastern University's Kitty and Michael Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy have launched the Economic Development Partnership. This partnership assists cities and towns in attracting and expanding private investment, a sustainable tax base, and well paying jobs.

As the nation's cities and towns continue to face severe fiscal challenges, they are seeking economic development solutions that are more informed, accountable, and effective than ever before.

"The partnership assists cities in responding to the rapidly changing economic conditions," said NLC President Ronald O. Loveridge, mayor of Riverside, Calif. "The systematic approach employed by the program will give communities a leg up in creating a strong foundation for future economic growth and development."

Communities enrolled in the program are guided through a confidential survey of their relative capacity to compete for private sector investment. The survey is ideally completed by the mayor, together with senior municipal officials and key staff. The city is then provided an assessment report and practical strategies to surmount the "deal breakers" within their control that discourage critically needed private sector investment.

With nearly 200 questions in the self-assessment, this rigorous examination helps local officials explore their community's potential in 10 assessment categories:

* Access to Customers/Markets

* Concentration of Businesses & Services

* Real Estate and Infrastructure

* Labor Market Factors

* Municipal Permit Processes

* Community Quality of Life

* Site Related Amenities

* Business Incentives

* Local Tax Rates

* Access to Local Information

These categories and the varying significance attributed to them in the assessment process were developed with the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties to reflect the perspective of actual investors in the industrial, office and retail sectors. …