Thursday, July 9, 2020
87.3 F
Ocala

Ocala/Marion County Chamber catalyst behind 7,500 jobs, $900 million in capital investments over past 7 years

The Ocala/Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership (CEP) detailed some of the initiatives that have helped the organization impact the announcement of 7,500 jobs and over $900 million in capital investments in the Ocala/Marion County area during a presentation to chamber members this past Thursday.

The impressive growth figures, which were presented during the CEP’s annual presentation encore, are a product of the group’s efforts to build, strengthen, and diversify Ocala’s growing economy during a multi-phased plan currently in its second phase and seventh year.

“[Ocala] was a place where nothing ever happened, so much so that it earned the moniker ‘NOcala,'” said CEP President Kevin Sheilley, during his opening remarks at the College of Central Florida’s Dassance Fine Arts Center.

Sheilley explained that although the chamber’s aggressive economic goals and growth once seemed impossible, the efforts of hundreds of business leaders, government officials, and chamber members had proved otherwise.

“People always want to know how we’re coming along on our three big goals. Those goals [in Phase II] are that we would impact the announcement of 4,500 new jobs, that those jobs would on average pay at least 15 percent above the county’s average wage,” and that the total capital investment would exceed $400 million, according to Sheilley.

In only three years, the chamber has already surpassed two of its five-year goals, including $547 million in capital investment and the creation of over 4,000 jobs with wages that are 16 percent above the county average. The 4,000 jobs represent over 90 percent of the chamber’s current five-year goal of creating 4,500 jobs, which is Phase II of the overall plan.

When coupled with the first Phase of the plan, which started seven years ago, the total span of the initiative has directly impacted the announcement of 7,500 jobs in the community and has resulted in nearly $1 billion in capital investment.

“The capital investment is $900 million. To give you perspective, seven years ago, the assessed value of property in Marion County was $14 billion. We’ve added almost $1 billion in worth” said Sheilley of the accomplishment.

Sheilley went on to elaborate on how the capital investment in the community has steadied tax rates, citing a recent tax rate increase in Sumter County that came as shock to residents.

“That capital investment, that’s money [residents and visitors] are spending in our community. That’s money that’s going to our local governments to help keep our tax rates much lower than they might be. If you’re unaware, our friends just to the south this year had to do a (25 percent) increase in their property taxes. Are they getting anything new and different for that? No,” said Sheilley of the 25 percent tax rate increase approved last September by Sumter County Commissioners.

“In the Ocala Metro it’s possible to keep our taxes lower because we are growing investments and growing opportunity” added Sheilley.

Photos in Ocala, Florida

Crime

Ocala man jailed after swatting away deputy’s hand

An Ocala man was arrested recently after he allegedly swatted away the hand of a deputy who was trying to get him to calm down and back away from her.

Video catches Ocala men in Fourth of July attack

Two Ocala men were arrested after they were caught on video attacking a man and woman and causing property damage at a Fourth of July party.

Gainesville man caught with marijuana in Belleview traffic stop

A Gainesville man was charged with possession of marijuana and driving with a suspended license after he was pulled over in Belleview.

Belleview man says he stole truck to get back to girlfriend and baby

A Belleview man who admitted to stealing a truck said he did it because he is homeless and needed to get back to his girlfriend and newborn baby.

Business

Historic 12-room inn near Downtown Ocala on the market for just under $1.2 million

The Shamrock Historic Inn offers 12 guest rooms with ‘cozy and eclectic’ themes and a manager/owner apartment.

Bryant tabbed to serve as vice chair of Florida Association of Counties committee

Marion County Commission Chairwoman Kathy Bryant has been appointed to serve as vice chair of the Florida Association of Counties’ Finance, Tax & Administration Committee.

Chuck E Cheese Ocala off list of nationwide closures amidst company bankruptcy filing

Chuck E Cheese in Ocala was not included in the list of restaurant locations closed by the company as a result of their bankruptcy filing last week.

Local business owner asking for donations to benefit family of late soldier

A local business owner is asking the community for donations to help the family of a late solider. 

Subscribe for email updates

* indicates required

Headlines

Ocala City Council OKs plan for Reilly Arts Center to operate historic Marion Theatre

The historic Marion Theatre is getting a new lease on life, thanks to the Reilly Arts Center and the Ocala City Council.

Belleview man jailed after violent attack at campground over cut water hose

A Belleview man was arrested Sunday after a bleeding campground dweller claimed he was attacked with a crowbar over a cut water hose.

Sumter County man dies of COVID-19 as virus slams tri-county area

Another Sumter County resident has succumbed to COVID-19 as the virus continues to sweep across the tri-county area.

COVID-19 running rampant through federal prison facilities in Coleman

An outbreak of COVID-19 is continuing to plague the federal prison complex in Coleman.

More articles like this