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Alhambra, Cerritos take home Eddys

Posted: November 16, 2010 7:47 p.m.
Updated: November 17, 2010 4:55 a.m.
 

Alhambra and Cerritos have been named by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. as the 2010 Most Business-Friendly Cities in Los Angeles County.

Alhambra won the award for cities of more than 60,000 population; Cerritos won for cities with less than 60,000 residents.

Finalists for cities with a population 60,000 and more were Carson, Downey, Torrance, West Covina and Whittier.

 In the category of 60,000 or less, the cities selected as finalists were Azusa, Commerce, Duarte, La Mirada and
Monrovia.

Santa Clarita last won the distinctive award in 2008. The city was also named a finalist for the LAEDC’s Most Business-Friendly City award in 2006 and 2007.

Since it received the award in 2008, Santa Clarita is disqualified from applying again until 2011.

Eddy Awards
The Eddy Awards were introduced by the LAEDC in 1996 to recognize cities within the county that are actively promoting business-friendly programs and services.

The awards also acknowledge individuals and organizations that demonstrate exceptional contributions to positive economic development in the region.

Nhien Lasky, vice president of marketing and communications for LAEDC, said the catchy name “Eddy Award” was derived from the concept of “economic development.”

The finalists are selected based on meeting the criteria of demonstrating a priority placed on economic development.

Programs and services designed to support business relocation, expansion and retention are required to be considered as a finalist.

The economic-development activity over the past three years is reviewed, as well as the availability of economic incentives and competitive tax rates and fee structures put in place to attract business.

Effective communication with businesses is also taken into consideration for an Eddy Award.

“All of this year’s finalists have made economic development and job creation a top priority,” said Bill Allen, LAEDC president and CEO. “This year, we received more applications from cities throughout the county than in any other year in the award’s history.”

Santa Clarita
The city of Santa Clarita was named winner of the county’s Most Business-Friendly City award by LAEDC in 2008.

The city was honored for its business-friendly practices, which include not assessing a business license fee or utility-user tax. The latter allows companies to save up to 5 percent or more on their electric, telephone, water and gas bills.

Local businesses are also offered assistance with finding land for development and expedited plan reviews. Santa Clarita created a one-stop permitting center at City Hall.

The city’s Enterprise Zone allows business owners within the zone to qualify for state income tax savings that can reduce their state income tax. The zone also provides for tax credits for certain new hires.

An application to expand the zone into the greater Santa Clarita Valley was recently submitted and is awaiting approval.

Downtown Newhall
The Newhall area was also designated as a redevelopment area, providing it with opportunities for innovative financing and improvements to enhance the old downtown center, retain local businesses and draw residents back into the historic district.

Community Development Block Grant Funds, with a two-year time limit to spend up to $275,000, have been awarded in the downtown Newhall area.

Grants are offered in blocks to individual business and property owners who may need to upgrade buildings or architectural features.

The Old Town Newhall Building Improvement Grant Program was established as part of the city’s 21-Point Business Plan for Progress.

The city’s plan is to expand existing programs and create new ones to provide ways to enhance the economy and develop the local work force.

Going for it
According to Jason Crawford, the city’s economic development manager, once a city has won the Eddy Award, it is not allowed to apply for it again for three years.

He also said that since the creation of the award, no city has won it a second time.

But that’s not stopping Crawford or Santa Clarita. The city is waiting for the eligibility period when it can apply again.

“Once we can apply for the award again,” Crawford said, “I plan to.”

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