Sullivan: LEDA Is Important For Local Retail Businesses

By PATRICK SULLIVAN
Executive Director
Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation

LEDA is important for local retail businesses.

On Tuesday, July 27, the County Council will consider amending its existing Local Economic Development Act (LEDA) ordinance to come into compliance with changes that were approved at the State level last January. The changes are brief, but impactful and focus on allowing municipalities to utilize LEDA to incentivize retail businesses.

LEDA is a mechanism that allows either the State or a municipality to directly contribute resources to a private sector project without violating the New Mexico Anti-Donation clause. Previously, retail businesses were excluded from being eligible unless the community was under 25,000 in population and the business did not directly compete with an existing business. The recent changes have removed the do-not-compete clause and the population requirement.

This is great news. Los Alamos County retail businesses will now have the opportunity to apply for LEDA assistance from Los Alamos County.  Assistance could be in the form of a grant, a low interest loan, the donation of land, or infrastructure improvement. Each application would need to be evaluated for merit and positive impact on the economy and then ultimately approved by the County Council. There are guidelines by which each project is held accountable, including hiring/job metrics and positive impact on our local economy.

Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation urges the Los Alamos County Council to approve the amendment to the existing ordinance so Los Alamos County can remain competitive with other communities to incentivize new business development, and more importantly, be able to offer direct assistance to our local retail businesses.

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