By Richard Munday
For Hometown News
If the Ormond Beach City Commissioners were in school, they would have gotten an A on their most recent economic development effort.
The commissioners voted to approve DuvaSawko Healthcare Billing Systems and support company Edge Physicians as Qualified Target Industry businesses, which qualifies them for growth assistance funding from the city and the state.
Healthcare Billing Systems is a 15 year-old company created by Drs. Charles Duva and Bill Sawko. They created the technology for accounts receivable and practice management for their own practice because they were not satisfied with outsourced solutions. Once the system was successful for their own practice they decided to expand and offer their services to others. They have a number of clients in 10, soon 11 states, and are growing rapidly.
The purpose of providing growth assistance funding is designed to promote expansion of existing businesses and provide economic development incentives in recruiting new businesses to Ormond Beach, according to information provided by Joe Mannarino, Ormond Beach Economic Development Director.
The funds are performance based, potentially providing up to $254,500 to the company, according to Mr. Mannarino, for the creation of 171 full-time employees with wages at 116 percent above the Volusia County average.
Also Mr. Mannarino said, "Edge would be provided with up to $45,000 for the creation of up to 30 new jobs at an annual income of 200 percent above the Volusia County average."
The company looked at other places, but Mr. Mannarino said everything just fell into place that made this move the most desirable.
DuvaSawko is leasing two buildings with 28,000 square feet of space in Daytona Beach and the ability to find a vacant, acceptable building at favorable terms that would allow everything to be under one roof would provide a significant operational savings. Plus the Growth Assistance Fund from Ormond Beach and the state were a positive influence.
The economic impact on Ormond Beach over the course of the next five years is significant, as much as a $4 million increase in the city's economy. The added employees would make DuvaSawko Ormond Beach's fifth largest employer.
Mr. Mannarino said "Negotiations were begun from a contact to him from a local real estate broker, with no names mentioned." After several months, as the plan came together, serious talks resulted in the resolutions and announcements at the commissioners meeting.
Mr. Mannarino further added remodeling the building at 298 S. Yonge St. and adding parking spaces and landscaping is budgeted at $1.5 million with a target completion date of Sept. 1.
The state must still approve the deal.
Commissioner Bill Partington expressed the sentiments of the commissioners by saying, "This DuvaSawko deal is a great example of the hard work of Joe Mannarino of equating to jobs, jobs, jobs, and positive economic development at a time when many cities are not seeing positive economic development."
In other business, the commission voted to let the county know it is interested in making the beach in front of the new Andy Romano Beach Front Park a "Traffic Free Zone."
In final business, the commissioners accepted the low bid of $811,991 from J.D. Weber Construction and $83,007 from Zev Cohen & Associates to for the North Central Park Lake Interconnect Project.
The project was added to a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant for drainage improvements on Hand Avenue. FEMA will pay 75 percent of the cost. The lakes start just north of Hammock Lane and south of Hand. Interconnects will be made through Hammock Lane, Division Avenue Hand Avenue and a wooded area between Lakes #3 and #4. Additionally Lake #4 will be connected to the Lake Park Circle retention pond. When finished all 5 lakes will be contiguously navigable.