CERRITOS, DOWNEY & CARSON ARE FINALISTS FOR LA COUNTY’S MOST-BUSINESS-FRIENDLY CITY AWARDSBy Dave Wielenga
Three cities in the Greater Long Beach area—although not Long Beach, itself, this year—are among 12 finalists for Eddy Awards in the 2010 Most Business-Friendly City competition sponsored by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC).
Representatives of Cerritos, Downey and Carson will be at the Beverly Hilton Hotel tonight to await the announcement of winners in two categories—those with populations over and under 60,000 people.
Downey and Carson are entered in the over-60,000 category, along with Alhambra, Torrance, West Covina and Whittier. Cerritos is in the under-60,000 category, contending with Azusa, Commerce, Duarte, La Mirada and Monrovia.
Inaugurated in 1996, the Eddy Awards gala has become the most important economic development award program in the state of California. In 2006, the LAEDC created the “business-friendly” award category to recognize cities within LA County that are proactively promoting business-friendly programs and services.
“All of this year’s finalists have made economic development and job creation a top priority,” said Bill Allen, LAEDC president and CEO, in a prepared statement. “This year, we received more applications from cities throughout the county than in any other year in the award’s history. These cities understand that having healthy, vibrant and prosperous communities depend on attracting, retaining and growing businesses which are so critical to sustaining our economic vitality and quality of life.”
The Greater Long Beach-area finalists and their profiles:
Downey is where both the Apollo space program began and the world’s oldest McDonalds restaurant can be found. Downey is a full-service city that has created an excellent business climate. Its pro-business approach has rated the city in the top 25 percent of “100 Best Cities to Do Business in California” by California Business Magazine. To attract and retain businesses, Downey developed an economic strategy which includes two redevelopment project areas, simplified business tax renewals, over-the counter permit processing, a development review committee, business outreach program, business watch program, customer service surveys and channels for problem identification and solutions.
Carson is recognized as an industrial center with excellent access to numerous multi-modal transportation systems including the County’s twin ports which have enjoyed steady and continued growth. With more than 120 acres of park land and a state-of-the art sports complex, Carson residents and businesses enjoy a variety of recreational and cultural amenities. Economic development is a cornerstone of Carson’s vision and is highlighted in its Economic Development Element in the city’s General Plan. The Plan’s strategies include streamlined processing of its business license and building permits, and financial assistance programs.
Cerritos, located in the heart of the Los Angeles/Orange County Metro Area, offers businesses a strategic location in a community with a solid fiscal position, exceptional services and a tradition of strong city leadership. The city’s economic development priorities are taken from their Economic Development Strategic Plan that focuses efforts to ensure the success of existing businesses. A city ombudsman escorts businesses through the complexities of local, regional, state and federal agencies and regulations. Cerritos provides fast-track permitting, is a “no/ low” property tax city with no utility user tax, two Redevelopment Project Areas, a business retention and expansion program and was a finalist in 2007 and 2008.
Finalists in the Most Business-Friendly category were selected based on the following criteria:
• Demonstrated commitment to economic development as a priority
• Excellence in programs and services designed to facilitate business entry, expansion, and retention
• Economic development activity over the past three years
• Competitive business tax rates and fee structures
• Availability of economic incentives
• Effective communication with and about business clients
• Each of the finalists has created a business-friendly environment that encourages businesses to locate or expand in their respective communities.