The City of Friendswood and the State of Texas have a variety of financial incentives,training programs, and services available for businesses locating to the state and local area. Most of these programs are designed to encourage primary employers (corporate offices, research and development facilities, light manufacturers, distributors, service centers, or regional tourist related facilities) to locate or expand to the city, county,or state.
Business development incentives, financial programs and business services include:
City of Friendswood Incentives
Municipal grant incentives may be considered at some level for new facilities, expansion or modernization of existing facilities that add new taxable values to the ad valorem tax rolls,and to businesses renovating or occupying existing facilities within the city of Friendswood. Grants may be used by the qualifying company for relocation assistance, land and/or building acquisition costs, building improvements or renovation, utility line extension and connections, payment of water and sewer impact fees,extension of public roads, and drainage improvements.
On June 16, 2008, City Council amended the Chapter 380 municipal grant program to include new considerations for downtown projects. The minimum investment requirement of increased real and personal property was lowered to $250,000 to qualify for a grant. In addition to the uses already approved, grant funds may be utilized for downtown improvements such as paved sidewalks, facades, street lighting, signage, and benches.
Please contact the Economic Development Coordinator at (281) 996-3250 for information regarding qualifications.
On June 16, 2008, the City Council designated the downtown district as Neighborhood Empowerment Zone (NEZ) #1. This designation provides the following incentives to encourage development, renovation, and expansion in the downtown district. The City will:
-Waive one hundred percent (100%) of all fees related to construction and development, including zoning, platting, site plan review, building, plumbing, mechanical, electrical, and gas permits for businesses and developers that are for profit and are zoned Downtown District;
-Waive one hundred percent (100%) of water and wastewater impact fees; and
- Potentially abate real property taxes in accordance with the City's tax abatement policies.
On November 17, 2008, City Council approved amendments to the Neighborhood Empowerment Zone #1 to expand the geographical boundaries of the Downtown District (Area A) to include the area along Friendswood Drive from Castlewood to Cowards Creek (Area B). Businesses and developers in Area B have the opportunity to opt-in to Downtown District incentives, as long as they are for profit and incorporate facade and/or sidewalk improvements according to the downtown district guidelines into their development.
Map of the Downtown District
The City of Friendswood is committed to the promotion of quality development in all parts of the City. On a case-by-case basis, the City will give consideration to providing tax abatement on the increment in value added to a particular property by a specific development proposal, which meets the economic goals and objectives of the City. The tax abatement shall not apply to any portion of the inventory or land value of the project. Tax abatement may be offered on improvements to real property owned by the applicant and/or on new personal property brought to the site by the applicant. Tax abatement will not be ordinarily considered for projects which would be developed without such incentives unless it can be demonstrated that higher development standards or other development and community goals will be achieved through the use of the abatement.
Tax Abatement Policy Guidelines
Every Wednesday morning, the City holds meetings for prospective developers and property owners to answer questions concerning the development of commercial property, eliminating the need to go from department to department. These meetings bring together key City staff having responsibility for various aspects of the development process. If you are interested in scheduling one of these meetings, please call (281) 996-3290.
Freeport Tax Exemption allows local governing bodies the option to exempt personal property consisting of goods, wares, merchandise or ores other than oil,natural gas and petroleum. Eligible property must be transported out of the state within 175 days of acquisition, but must first be assembled, stored, manufactured,processed or fabricated locally. The City of Friendswood can participate in this exemption .
Tax increment financing is a tool that local governments can use to publicly finance needed structural improvements and enhanced infrastructure within a defined area. These improvements usually are undertaken to promote the viability of existing businesses and to attract new commercial enterprises to the area. The statues governing tax increment financing are located in Chapter 311 of the Texas Tax Code.
The cost of improvements to the area is repaid by the contribution of future tax revenues by each taxing unit that levies taxes against the property. Specifically, each taxing unit can choose to dedicate all, a portion of, or none of the tax revenue that is attributable to the increase in property values due to the improvements within the reinvestment zone. The additional tax revenue that is received from the affected properties is referred to as the tax increment. Each taxing unit determines what percentage of its tax increment, if any, it will commit to repayment of the cost of financing the public improvements.
Tax increment financing may be initiated only by a city. If a property is located outside of the city limits (within the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction or beyond), it is not eligible for tax increment financing unless annexed into the city. Once a city has begun the process of establishing a tax increment financing reinvestment zone, counties, school districts, and special districts are allowed to consider participating in the tax increment financing agreement
Galveston and Harris counties offer a competitive tax abatement program for certain economic development projects and can grant up to 100% abatement of property taxes on buildings, fixed machinery/equipment.
Galveston County Tax Abatement Policy Guidelines
Harris County Tax Abatement Policy
Harris County Tax Abatement Application
Relocation assistance can be provided by the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership's Relocation Council. Services can include providing employees with relocation packages, a briefing with relocating employees, and spouse re-employment assistance. This program can assist a company in convincing hesitant employees to relocate, and reduce costs to a company. www.bayareahouston.com
The Space Alliance Technology Outreach Program is a cooperative program sponsored by the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership, NASA, and key contractors.The SATOP program is designed to assist small businesses through technology developed from space exploration. Thousands of NASA's ideas and inventions can be applied to industry, and SATOP's goal is to accelerate the transfer of these ideas and inventions to small business owners by offering free assistance from NASA technical teams. SATOP has help companies with rotor failures, medical inventions, assembly techniques,and other issues. For more information on the program or assistance, call 281) 486-5535 or visit www.bayareahouston.com
The Bank is Texas' newest tool to promote job creation in the Lone Star State. Created by the 78th Legislature in 2003, the Bank provides incentives to businesses wishing to relocate or expand in Texas, as well as assist local communities in accessing capital for economic development. http://www.governor.state.tx.us/divisions/ecodev/ed_bank/
The Texas Capital Fund is an economic development tool designed to provide financial resources to communities under 50,000 in population. Funds from this program can be utilized for public infrastructure needed to assist a business which commits to create and/or retain permanent jobs, primarily for low and moderate income persons. This program encourages new business development and expansions. The minimum award is $50,000 and the maximum is $500,000. The award may not exceed fifty percent (50%) of the total project costs. A minimum equity injection of ten percent (10%)of the total project cost by the business is required. There are 3 funding award rounds per program year.
The Skills Development Fund program provides grants to businesses for training programs carried out through contracts with public community and technical colleges in Texas. Grants are used to cover the costs of program design, instruction, texts and reusable equipment. http://www.twc.state.tx.us/svcs/funds/sdfintro.html
Franchise tax credits for economic development were enacted in 1999 by the 76thLegislature and include a research credit, job creation credit, and investment credit to help large and small-sized businesses. A business locating in Galveston County may qualify for these credits if their firm is primarily engaged in computer services or research,manufacturing, warehousing, or wholesale distribution. For more information, click on http://www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/taxpubs/tx96_1196.pdf
Historically there has been a shortage of capital to grow small and early stage businesses in the State of Texas. In 2005 the State of Texas passed legislation that enabled the use of insurance premium tax credits to target investment to small and early stage businesses in the State of Texas. This legislation, The Texas CAPCO Act, created $200 million of investment capital for businesses located in the State. The program targets investment in early stage companies throughout Texas, with a portion of the investment targeted to low-income areas. Click here to learn more about our Sources of Capital.
The Texas Emerging Technology Fund (TETF) was created by legislation in 2005 and had its first award given out by 2006. The $200 million is designed to help create jobs and to develop the economy of Texas over the long-term by expediting the development and commercialization of new technologies and attracting and creating jobs in technology fields. It focuses on three main investment areas:
- increasing research collaboration through new Regional Centers of Innovation and Commercialization
- matching research grants funds
- and attracting more top-notch research talent