Many times when developers encounter problems opening or expanding their businesses locally, they simply move to another location without explanation. Oftentimes, the public never learns about the missed opportunity.
The Cafaro Co. received a minor setback recently to its plan to build a hotel and banquet center on its Eastwood Mall complex. Trumbull County does not have the ability to waive a $50,000 tap-in fee that Cafaro requested. The tap-in fee will be paid and the hotel will be built anyway.
That didn't stop some people from posting critical comments on a Tribune Chronicle website message board. Some were directed at Cafaro and others at the county for even considering the waiver.
What's refreshing is that Cafaro Co. President Anthony Cafaro Jr. responded on the same message board. Instead of ignoring the chatter or even relocating the project, as many business interests are apt to do, the company president demonstrated his commitment to the Mahoning Valley by engaging with tribtoday.com's anonymous posters.
It's encouraging to know that many local government officials are actively working to incentivize business development in Trumbull County. Niles officials have aggressively used their electric and water departments to court business while commissioners and others at the county level, evidenced by the hotel project, are also actively searching for ways to woo developers.
''We view Trumbull County and The City of Niles officials as progressive in their promotion of a 'business friendly' environment,'' Cafaro Jr. said.
While local officials attempted to forgive a $50,000 sewer fee for Cafaro, Fredericksburg, Va., City Council granted a $100,000 incentive for Barnes and Noble to move into a shuttered Borders bookstore. Barnes and Noble will spend $1.9 million on the store and employ 30 full-time-equivalent workers. Cafaro will spend about $14 million on the hotel, which will employ dozens more.
Such incentives are commonplace in Fredericksburg. It's no coincidence that Christine Chmura, president and chief economist for Chmura Economics & Analytics, said Fredericksburg is expected to add jobs at three times the pace of the U.S. economy. She specifically cited low costs.
Local government types and the Regional Chamber should continue to find ways to lower the cost of doing business here so we can put more people to work and increase our quality of life options. The public cooperation between local government and Cafaro helps spread the word that Trumbull County is business-friendly.