Launching and running a business in Okeechobee County has undeniable advantages. In addition to an idyllic lifestyle and pristine natural beauty, Okeechobee offers abundant land, a ready workforce and State Colleges as well as training institutions within a half-hour drive. Coastal pleasures are never far away both to the east and west. Okeechobee's rural-based businesses are eligible for incentives, tax credits and worker training programs.
Okeechobee County welcomes inquiries from businesses seeking to relocate or expand. The State of Florida and local municipalities are working together to expand the economic base in Florida. This collaboration continues to strengthen Okeechobee County's position as a pro-business community.
Our ideal climate, wealth of recreational and cultural opportunities, wide range of housing options and business relocation support makes the transition a pleasant experience for everyone. Take a look at the innovative ways in which we can help you succeed.
Okeechobee County is located in South-Central Florida on the north shore of big Lake Okeechobee. With excellent linkages to the Florida Turnpike, Interstate 95 and US Highway 27, the county is also serviced by both CSX Rail Systems and the Okeechobee County Airport.
Located just 35 miles west of the City of Port Saint Lucie, 60 miles Northwest of West Palm Beach, 90 miles south of the Greater Orlando Metro area and 75 miles Northeast of I-75 in Fort Myers, the county is serviced by the following major US Highway and State Road systems: State Road 70 (East-West); US Highway 441 (North-South), State Road 710 (North-South), US Highway 98 (North-South), State Road 78 (East-West) and State Road 68 (East-West).
The general aviation airport is serviced by a fixed-base operator (FBO). Located at the Okeechobee County Industrial Park, it provides unique opportunities for aviation-based enterprises. To the south is Palm Beach International Airport (PBI) and to the north is The Orlando International Airport (MCO). Both are within a 60-90 minute commute from downtown Okeechobee and provide adequate access to major hubs throughout the United States and abroad.
Okeechobee County is located within 35 miles of the Port of Ft. Pierce (28 feet) and 55 miles from the Port of Palm Beach (34 feet) providing inter-modal opportunities to these ports.
Numerous opportunities are available for light-industrial applications located within the City of Okeechobee's Industrial Park along the CSX rail system. Properties located within the City of Okeechobee also enjoy the benefits of the Enterprise Zone designated by the State of Florida Department of Community Affairs which provides significant tax breaks and incentives for local businesses. The Park has a total land area of 60+/- acres and is approximately 50% built-out with limited land available for sale or lease.
Within the Unincorporated Area of Okeechobee County is the county's industrial park located on 98+/- acres and is 100% built-out. The County acts as landlord since only long-term land lease opportunities exist due to arrangements made with the Federal Government after World War II. No fee-simple purchase opportunities are available at this time however there are future plans for an expansion of this industrial park on approximately 80 acres of remaining vacant land at the airport location.
Located within Unincorporated Okeechobee County are two large industrial parks in the planning stages. The South Central Florida Park of Industry consists of eighty-two (82) 5-7 acres parcels located on US Highway 98 North just 2 miles North of the Okeechobee County Airport. Located on 650 acres of total land area this park will serve as a major distribution hub for numerous businesses throughout Florida. Construction of this park is anticipated to begin in late 2009 or early 2010.
In addition, another industrial park is in the planning stages and consists of 320 acres of total land area located along NE 128th Avenue.
Available to qualified targeted businesses relocating to, or expanding into, Okeechobee County
» Participation in the Florida Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund Program
» Expedited permitting process
» Availability of job training and training grants
» Assistance in acquiring federal or state grants (such as Community Development Block Grants)
Companies can benefit significantly by locating in the Okeechobee Rural Enterprise Zone (REZ).
» Jobs Tax Credit (Sales Tax): Allows a business located within the Zone to take a sales and use tax credit for 30-45% of wages paid to new employees who live within a Rural County. Cannot be used in conjunction with the Corporate Tax Jobs Credit.
» Jobs Tax Credit (Corporate Income Tax): Allows a business located within the Zone to take a corporate income tax credit for 30-45% of wages paid to new employees who reside within a Rural County. Cannot be used in conjunction with the Sales Tax Credit
» Property Tax Credit (Corporate Income Tax): New or expanded businesses located within the Zone are allowed a credit against Florida corporate income tax equal to 96% of ad valorem taxes paid on the new or improved property.
» Business Equipment Sales Tax Refund: Refund of sales taxes paid on the purchase of certain business property, with a sales price of at least $5,000 per unit and used exclusively in the Zone, for at least three years.
» Building Materials Sales Tax Refund: Refund of sales taxes paid on the purchase of building materials used to rehabilitate real property located in the Zone. Up to $5,000 is refundable ($10,000 if 20% of employees live within the REZ) per parcel.
» Sales Tax Exemption for Electrical Energy: A 50% sales tax exemption to qualified businesses within the Zone on the purchase of electrical energy if the municipality has reduced the municipal utility tax by at least 50%; a 100% exemption is available if 20% of permanent, full-time employees live in the Zone.
» Community Contribution Tax Credit: A 50% credit on Florida corporate income tax, insurance premium tax or sales tax refund for donations made to local approved local community development projects.
Impact Fee Financing Program
This program allows financing of county-imposed Impact Fees up to six years for businesses listed on the County's target industries list. Details of terms and conditions for the are available on request.
Okeechobee County (named from two Indian words meaning "big water") consists of 774 square miles of land and about 153 square miles of the lake. Temperatures are typical for a sub-tropical climate ranging from the mid 60's in January to the mid 80's in August, as an average. Due to it's mid-state location, the County's weather tends to be much more stable than the State's coastal regions. Okeechobee County has one incorporated city, and it is also named Okeechobee. The City of Okeechobee has a population of 5,376 and serves as the county seat.
Raulerson Hospital is a 100-bed acute care hospital providing a full range of medical and surgical services for both inpatient and outpatient procedures 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Specialty Services include: Cardiopulmonary; Diabetes Education, Emergency, Outpatient, Physical Medicine, Rehabilitation, Radiology & Imaging, Sleep Disorders Laboratory, Surgical and a Total Joint Program - Arthroplasty.
For more information visit www.okeechobeebusiness.com