Greetings! We hope you enjoy our January 2017 Newsletter!
Happy New Year & Happy Birthday Monroe County!
On July 14, 2017, Monroe County will be turning 200 years old! We are the second oldest county in Michigan and the first in the state to divide into townships. We have a lot in the history books to be proud of and thankful for. 

We are looking forward to the Monroe County Bicentennial celebrations throughout the year, and we hope that communities and businesses take this opportunity to be part of history by planning and participating in events.

For more information, contact the Monroe County Bicentennial Committee.
Monroe County BDC Enjoys Busy 2016
In reflecting back on 2016, the BDC has certainly enjoyed an active and productive year! The year started with the BDC Board of Directors meeting to work on its strategic plan; this plan re-defined the organizations mission and developed a vision statement. The Board visited the priorities of the organization to make sure they are in alignment with the mission and vision and established our three main priorities:  (1) New Business Attraction, (2) Local Business Retention and Growth, and (3) Marketing and Communication.

Strategies and metrics were developed for the priorities, and were tracked during 2016. Following are highlights of those strategies and brief descriptions of the activities that took place during 2016.

New Business Attraction - We continued building our Greater Ann Arbor Region branding with our 6-county partnership to attract site consultants and property influencers to the region. This included a social media marketing campaign and our 3rd annual Familiarization Tour. The BDC is continuing to build  direct relationships with the site consultant community. To date, we have 51 consultants that know and understand the work of the BDC and the County of Monroe.

Retention and Growth - Through the efforts of Charlene Page, our VP of Business Development, 51 companies were visited in 2016. We provided assistance in a variety of matters to 19 companies and connected 8 companies to partner resources. By working with our manufacturing community through a wide variety of programs, we assist them in becoming more resilient to the many threats today's businesses face and show them that Monroe County continues to be the right place for their business.

Marketing and Communication - We published 12 general newsletters and 10 industrial news briefs directed to our manufacturing businesses. Our social media followings continue to grow; we added 78 new followers between Facebook and Twitter last year. Our social media message is designed to communicate the advantages of living, working and recreating in Monroe County. Our website continues to be updated weekly with informative information about our county.

In an effort to develop a more shovel-ready community, the BDC embarked on the I-75 Corridor study in 2016. The study has identified 7 areas that are development opportunities. We continued our heavy lifting with our study of a soybean processing facility. And, we worked with the Monroe County Intermediate school District and the Community College on developing skilled trades training to fill the gap in talent that currently exists in Southeast Michigan and Northwest Ohio.

This was a brief sampling of the work the BDC has been engaged in during 2016. A complete report will be presented at our Annual Investors' Meeting on March 8. If you are an investor, please save the date and watch for your invite. If you are not an investor, please consider an investment in the BDC as we work to create an environment for economic growth in Monroe County.  
Monroe County Economy Trending UP
The County of Monroe's economy continued to move up in 2016 as indicated by long term low unemployment rate, the increased number of workers in the workforce and the number of employees in Monroe County. But most notable is the near post-recession recovery of median household income which certainly leads us to believe we are trending in the right direction.

Recent information from Applied Graphic Solutions indicated that Monroe County's median household income was $58,329. That is 12% better than the state average and 3% better than U.S. median income.  Tim Lake, our President and CEO stated, "having additional disposable income for Monroe County families is certainly wonderful. If you look around at the increase in commercial activity in the county, I believe you will agree that a recovering economy has played a big role in that increased activity. "

Another indicator of the recovery of Monroe County was the recent release of the Milken Institute's Best  Cities Index. The report breaks their findings into two sections, large cities and small cities. The information gathered for the evaluation looks at jobs, wages, and technology gross domestic product for the various Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA). Monroe County is classified in the small cities category and received a ranking of 14 out of 201 other MSA's. The previous year the county was ranked 30th in the report. For more information you can go to www.best-cities.org.
 
We are pleased to welcome Patriot Group Construction as a new investor!
Patriot provides high performance industrial coatings, general contracting and construction management services. They specialize in the application of polyuria, poly-aspartic, epoxies, spray foam and roof & concrete overlays which protect properties from water and vapor infiltration.  They are certified by the Small Business Administration as a Veteran Owned Small Business (VOSB) and by the Department of Veterans Affairs as a Certified Veteran Enterprise (CVE).

We are thankful for Chuck West, their Executive Vice President, who has been a BDC Board of Director since October 2015. He started his board tenure while working with Fifth Third Bank. Chuck's involvement and experience in the community are an asset to our organization.

To learn more about Patriot Group, visit their website.
More news ...
 > If you haven't, please do ... Take our Business Survey! We promise, just a few questions so that we can know you a little better. The survey questions are general in nature about your company, operations and workforce needs. Please click the button below to access; it should be completed in one setting since incomplete surveys cannot be reaccessed. Your responses will be held in confidence and used only for the purposes stated above. We appreciate your time and thank you in advance!
>>  MI Personal Property Tax Reform - Back in 2014, Michigan voters approved changes to reduce personal property taxes for certain businesses. 2016 was the first year to phase out of the personal property tax on Eligible Manufacturing Personal Property (EMPP). Beginning in 2017, any EMPP in place for 10 years will become exempt, with full phase out by 2023. The phase out of personal property tax applies to all personal property located on occupied real property if that personal property is predominantly used in industrial processing or direct integrated support. 

Taxpayers believing they qualify need to submit Form 5278 no later than February 21 for each personal property parcel for which the EMPP exemption is being claimed. For more information, please view the Fact Sheet, and contact our office or the Michigan Department of Treasury at 517-335-2167.

>>> Resources for Entrepreneurs to Assist in Growing a Business - The Michigan eLibrary (MeL) has been redesigned and offers access to some powerful online tools that can help you gather information to start or grow your business. Databases available include Business Insights, Global; Business Decision; DemographicsNow; Small Business Resource Center, Gale Virtual Business Library; Business Collection; and Gale Legal Forms. Subscription content is available at no cost to all Michigan residents, no long-ins required. To access MeL, go to http://business.mel.org/

>>> The Entreprneurship & Innovation Center is a partnership between MCCC, the BDC, the Monroe County Chamber of Commerce, the MEDC of Monroe County and Bedford Business Association. The center offers guidance for people looking to start their own businesses through workshops, access to space and technology and one-on-one counseling. It seeks to support an environment that attracts and encourages start-ups and small businesses in the county. The center is based at MCCC's Career Technology Center. Contact Barry Kinsey at MCCC at 734-384-4124 or bkinsey@monroeccc.edu for more information.

  Please feel free to contact us anytime!
Tim Lake  |  Charlene Page  |  LuAnn Hogberg