May 22, 2024

Economic yearbook 2009

Big Bend Yearbook 2009

Hard decisions -- striking a balance between services and taxes.

Charlotte Crane | 4/1/2009
Big Bend area of Florida

"The healthcare sector both locally and statewide continues to be the sole industry that generates jobs at a steady pace."Kimberly Moore, CEO, Workforce Plus Regional Workforce Development Board

Tallahassee / Leon County

See population, income and job statistics from this region.
State government and two universities, along with the healthcare and defense sectors, are providing a degree of job stability for Leon County, reflected in its low 6% unemployment rate, says Beth Kirkland, executive director of the Economic Development Council of Tallahassee/Leon County.

The real estate and construction sectors are less upbeat: Leon County single-family home sales for 2008 dropped to the lowest level since at least 1996. And the county schools system is grappling with budget cuts that could hit $16 million and may prompt the district to close some schools.

Chris Rey
Chris Rey’s Tai Yang Research in Tallahassee makes equipment that helps keep ships safe from mines. [Photo: Mark Wemple]
“Our ability to find that balance between services provided vs. tax burden is becoming harder and harder to manage,’’ says County Commission Chairman Bryan Desloge. None of the options, he says — cutting services, eliminating programs and/or staff, finding alternative revenue streams or raising taxes — are easy decisions.

Business to Watch

» Brandt Information Services in Tallahassee, a 24-year-old information technology company, increased sales by 10% last year and added 20 employees; 100 now work there. Owners John Thomas and Richard Wise expect to add another 20 to 25 employees this year. “Brandt is thriving because we help organizations and individuals succeed, which has proven especially relevant in this economic environment,” says Wise. “Technology, if executed properly, increases efficiency and promotes organizational and economic growth.” Among Brandt services: IT projects and staffing, mobile solutions and labor market research.

Person to Watch

» Chris Rey, president of Tai Yang Research Co., and his five full-time employees — all graduates of Florida State University, where Rey received a doctorate in physics — landed their biggest government contract award to develop high-temperature superconducting equipment for the U.S. Office of Naval Research. The equipment will lessen ships’ vulnerability to magnetic mines. Tai Yang’s revenue was up more than 50% last year.

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