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City Economic Development Department Releases Criteria for Public Projects

Six core principles focus on return on investment.

May 30, 2018

The City of Albuquerque Economic Development Department is releasing criteria for evaluating when and how businesses receive city incentives. The department has developed strategic guidelines to grow our economy and will apply the new criteria to all projects seeking incentives and other assistance from the city’s economic development department.

“We’re bringing focus to our economic development efforts by scoring public projects based on a straight forward return on investment strategy,” stated Mayor Tim Keller. “By measuring each project against these criteria, we will be able to build an economy that works for everyone by playing to our strengths and being realistic about what will work in Albuquerque.”

“Growing Albuquerque’s economy requires a multi-faceted approach,” said Synthia Jaramillo, Director of the City of Albuquerque Economic Development Department. “Our strategy is about doing what’s best for Albuquerque and our residents—not chasing national fads or saying yes to every project that comes to town. We’ll be focusing resources on the highest net return for the city.”

The six return on investment criteria are as follows:

1. Leverage our core assets.

Companies seeking incentives to build on our known strengths will have a competitive advantage that will make them better investments. We look for businesses that wish to capitalize on our core assets: our unique local culture, spectacular natural beauty and significant technology assets, including intellectual property being developed at the universities and lab.

2. Implement place-based strategies.

We will focus economic and community development on reversing disinvestment in core city locations with the most efficient value-creation potential. We will prioritize projects that do not create ancillary taxpayer burdens, that leverage existing public and private sector investments, and that engage relevant communities to drive economic growth and development.

3. Focus on high-growth specialties.

We target sectors where we have an existing competitive advantage to make Albuquerque a unique destination for these industries. Possible sectors include directed energy, photonics, biomedical research, development and manufacturing, software development and Tribal enterprises.

4. Support focused and positive return on investment (ROI) projects. 

We deploy resources for the highest net return for the city and its residents. Dependable ROI projects have data to support their impact on the economy and equity, which will withstand third-party scrutiny. This in turn will foster a better understanding among city staff, City Council and the public of measureable net benefits and evidence-based techniques to grow our local economy.

5. Create economic base jobs.

We emphasize recurring economic base jobs that grow the size of our local economy by generating exports and increasing the amount of new money they bring in from beyond our local economy. This “net new income” to the local economy can then be spent on business and consumer services locally. High-tech, manufacturing and creative economy jobs tend to be economic base jobs; retail and service jobs tend not to be.

6. Build on homegrown companies.

Locally-owned businesses spend an average of 25 cents on the dollar more within the local economy than their out-of-state counterparts, and for too long, our city has tried to import other cities' economic development strategies that do not always take into account our unique local strengths and challenges. We know that finding the right mix of homegrown companies and out-of-state businesses will yield a better rate of return.