Cedar Park Economic Development Director Phil Brewer discussed new businesses, available economic incentives and future development during the July 9 Cedar Park Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

Brewer said Cedar Park has experienced consistent and sustainable growth in part because of the continued funding of the city's 4A and 4B Sales Tax Corporations. The city allocates one half-cent of its 8.25 percent sales tax rate to the 4A, or Economic Development Corporation, and one half-cent to the 4B, or Community Development Corporation.

The 4A corporation has helped build economic development projects such as Cedar Park Regional Medical Center and the Cedar Park Center, Brewer said. The 4B corporation helps fund quality-of-life projects in Cedar Park including roads, parks and infrastructure.


4A and 4B funding has made possible various incentives that help promote business development in Cedar Park, Brewer said, but the city also offers a Triple Freeport exemption and tax abatements.

With the Freeport exemption, a company is exempt from certain property taxes on inventory shipped out of state if that inventory has remained on site with the company for fewer than 180 days. The city, Leander ISD and Williamson County all offer the Freeport tax exemption.

Brewer said one medical products company interested in locating in Cedar Park would save $1.2 million annually under the triple Freeport exemption.

Tax abatements allow a new business to pay fewer taxes on real and personal property for up to 10 years.

"We do tax abatements for companies that may be considering coming to Cedar Park," Brewer said. "We're not giving up anything we already have. We're basically phasing in a new revenue stream."

Incentives are performance-based, Brewer said, and each comes with a claw back clause, meaning the city can seek reimbursement from the company if it fails to meet the requirements outlined in the incentive agreement.

In the past, economic development incentives have encouraged businesses such as Costco, Dana Limited Corporation and In-N-Out Burger to join the community, Brewer said.

Incentivized companies and incoming businesses such as BJ's Brewhouse, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Lupe Tortilla, Sprouts Fa and Panera Bread will benefit the city, he said.

"It's estimated that over the next two years, these projects are going to create an additional $1.8 billion in sales tax revenues for the city of Cedar Park," Brewer said.


The city of Cedar Park does not always have available space for new companies and projects, Brewer said. He estimates that 85 percent of the inquiries sent to economic development department involve businesses seeking existing space.

"They're looking for a quick remodel," Brewer said. "They want something that's on the ground, that they can go into literally turn the lights on and be in business."

A lack of empty buildings portrays how quickly Cedar Park is growing, Brewer said.

Brewer described another issue the city faces—80 percent or more of the work force commutes out of town each work day.

"I would venture to say that some of these folks would even take a small reduction in pay just to be able to have that benefit of working in the community, being able to have lunch with their kids once a week, run errands during lunchtimeI think we continue to try to close that gap," Brewer said.

Long-range projects

Besides improving conditions for current and incoming businesses, the economic development department hopes to progress its long-range projects.

For the past three to four years, economic development leaders in the surrounding areas of Round Rock, Georgetown and Leander have been working to create a Williamson County Economic Development Alliance, Brewer said. Economic development leaders plan to fund a website to showcase new developments and incentivized projects in the county. This website would also have links to local city websites, creating an easy way to experience the happenings in other communities with just the click of a button, Brewer said.

The city's other long-range projects include creating high-end office space and recruiting a higher education facility.