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Business

County hopes to bring in 542 jobs

Officials hope more than half of those jobs pay an average of $34,275, mainly in the health and technology areas.

By MELIA BOWIE
Published February 15, 2004

PASCO COUNTY - This year economic leaders are hoping to bring nearly $30-million in capital investment to Pasco, along with 542 new jobs and target industries that will help the county grow as a health and technology hub.

"We're always working on these things," said Mary Jane Stanley, executive director of Pasco's Economic Development Council.

Although Pasco County government does not give the EDC official requirements for economic growth "we do set internal goals," Stanley said of her agency.

And as Pasco's housing boom continues it is becoming increasingly important for leaders to attract companies, manufacturers and employment centers to balance out the county's residential growth.

Pasco's recent demographic trend toward more middle- and upper-class housing also points to a need for competitive jobs for those new residents.

EDC officials said they are hoping that at least 322 of the desired 542 jobs created in 2004 will pay an average wage of $34,275.

The agency's target industries for 2004 include businesses and manufacturers specializing in medical instruments and supplies, electronic components and accessories, insurance and medical service plans, pharmaceutical products and testing labs, industrial machinery and equipment and also financial services.

Last year the EDC saw success with its efforts to acquire industrial land and improve its relationship with county commissioners and staff, said Stanley.

"... Our biggest accomplishment as an agency, I'd say, was the progress we made with the comprehensive plan," she said of shifting more of the county's focus to acquiring parcels for industrial use.

The council also added a few unusual companies to its business roster - among them a winery, distillery and even a kazoo company.

So what else can Pasco expect in 2004?

Officials say their goal is to add another 261,598 in business square-footage and nearly $192,000 in investor-sponsorship dollars for Pasco. There also is an emphasis on securing commitments from companies already contemplating relocations to Pasco.

In 2003 EDC staff wooed companies ranging from flight simulator manufacturers to telemarketing call centers that could bring hundreds of higher wage jobs to the county.

"It's a slow process," said Sandi Snow, EDC business development manager. But "I would certainly anticipate if the economy improves or stays strong some of these companies may make decisions."

[Last modified February 15, 2004, 01:15:45]


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