City's Economic Development Efforts Pay Off

Residents may know that businesses are important to a city’s financial health.

They may not realize quite how important, though.

In Strongsville, 78 percent of general fund revenue comes from income tax collections – paying for services like police and fire protection, road repairs and trash collection.

“The business development we do has a direct, positive effect on every resident in Strongsville,” Economic Development Director Brent Painter said.
Painter spoke before a full house at the Ehrnfelt Rec Center June 14 as he updated members of the Strongsville Chamber of Commerce on the city’s business assistance efforts.

Strongsville has a multi-faceted plan to help businesses of all sizes stay successful – and to encourage companies to consider the city’s business parks when they look to expand or relocate.

Painter told the crowd that if the city doesn’t keep increasing its tax base by bringing in new companies to its business parks, residents will either have to pay more for city services, or those services would have to be cut.

Currently, Strongsville has nearly the highest income tax collection in Cuyahoga County (excluding the city of Cleveland), second only to Solon.

How did that happen? Because of Strongsville’s focus on business development – a plan that includes not only Painter’s efforts every day to work with potential new businesses, but also other departments’ emphasis on making Strongsville an attractive and safe place for companies to operate.

“Economic development can’t succeed without strong safety forces,” Painter said. “That is a No. 1 priority when we meet with businesses.”

The police department takes its efforts a step further by offering businesses free safety assessments – visiting buildings to check doors, skylights and windows for vulnerability and offering crime-prevention suggestions.

Police Chief Mark Fender told the crowd his department also goes into businesses with Active Shooter Training – an individualized assessment for handling a gunman, including escape routes and response options.

“There are no safe sanctuaries any more,” Fender said. “We must be prepared for this type of event.”

The Fire Department, too, offers free CPR and first aid training, fire extinguisher training and safety assessments, Fire Chief Jack Draves said.
“We can assist you in developing and evaluating your emergency plans,” Draves told the audience.

“Safety is an important factor for business owners considering relocating to a community,” Painter said. “Our safety forces go the extra mile to not only make the community safe, but also improve safety for employees within commercial and industrial facilities.”

Painter also explained the various workforce assistance initiatives Strongsville has created, including the Small Business Assistance Guide, the Workforce Assistance Resource Guide and – soon – The Strongsville Jobs Portal, an online job listing.

Painter also showed a video highlighting several new businesses locating within the city’s four business parks. Those companies were recognized at the luncheon by Mayor Tom Perciak: Advanced Chemical Concepts, PLIDCO, Mechanical Rubber, Schaeffler Group, Infinium Wall Systems and Certain Teed.