Financial giant Morgan Stanley brought 180 jobs to Temple Terrace thanks, in part, to the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation.
The group now wants the city to play a more prominent role on its executive committee. But membership comes with a price tag: $25,000 in annual dues.
Temple Terrace city leaders are ready to make that commitment as part of their efforts to aggressively market Temple Terrace to major employers as a desirable place to live and do business.
By a unanimous vote Tuesday, the Temple Terrace City Council approved using $15,831 in reserve funds to pay the prorated cost for EDC executive-level membership for the rest of the year. The city joins Tampa, Plant City and Hillsborough County, which have ongoing projects with the nonprofit organization.
“We need the city of Temple Terrace at the table with us,” said Rick Homans, president and CEO of the economic development corporation. “It’s important for all of us to have a united front.”
Mayor Frank Chillura will serve as the city’s representative on the public-private partnership board, whose role it is to support economic growth and development in the Tampa metropolitan area.
In January, the state announced plans for Morgan Stanley, an investment banking company, to open a new Florida headquarters at the Telecom Park office complex in Temple Terrace. It will house 70 existing local employees, who currently work in the Sabal Park area east of Tampa, and up to 110 new employees.
The new positions will come with an average wage of $55,000 per year and will include investment advisers and financial transaction processors.
Members of the economic development corporation, working in partnership with Temple Terrace and the state were instrumental in helping to reach the relocation deal with Morgan Stanley.
With a $2.4 million budget, the economic development corporation is working on an array of domestic and international business development events, ranging from Internet technology to manufacturing, Homans said.
The group operated as the Committee of One Hundred, a longtime arm of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, until 2009. It became an independent agency in a complementary role to the chamber to focus on strategic programs aimed at fostering economic growth in Tampa and Hillsborough County.
Temple Terrace has had a working relationship with the economic development corporation in past years. The previous city council led by former Mayor Joe Affronti axed the city’s annual membership due to concerns about a lack of return on investment.
The council will decide this summer during the budget review about whether to renew its membership for another year. The decision will be based on signs of success this spring and summer to attract potential new employers and economic development programs, officials said.
Councilman David Pogorilich wanted assurances that the economic development corporation’s commitment to Temple Terrace was strong and the city would receive “a bang for our buck,” he said.
“You can be involved as much as (the city) wants to be,” Homans said. “That’s what we have seen from Plant City. … This is your opportunity to be at the table in a more visible way.”
The economic development corporation is working with Plant City on targeting industries in the areas of manufacturing, agribusiness, distribution and logistics. Plant City has created a new project manager position to focus on eastern Hillsborough County businesses.
Councilman Bob Boss is optimistic the addition of Temple Terrace to the economic development corporation executive committee will be beneficial at a time when the economy shows signs of recovery.
“I don’t want to see us being left behind if things are moving forward with economic development in the area,” Boss said.
Chillura, who promised to be an outspoken advocate to protect the city’s interests, said he was happy to see all of the communities in Hillsborough County working together.
“I think there is a new approach in the region,” the mayor said. “They are looking at a more unified front.”
The goal of the economic development corporation is to make sure all corners of Hillsborough County prospers, Homans said.
“We feel like if we bring new jobs to Hillsborough County, it benefits all of Hillsborough County,” Homans said.