Created by the voters in 1999, the Stafford Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) is a nonprofit entity organized under Section 4B of the State’s Development Corporation Act. It is authorized to issue bonds, has the power of eminent domain and can condemn property, but only with City Council approval. It is subject to the Open Meetings Act and the Public Information Act.
Prior to establishing the Stafford Economic Development Corporation, through which the levy of a half-cent economic development sales tax is permitted, business development was pursued through the Stafford Economic Development Commission. The Commission helped to successfully recruit nationally and internationally renowned businesses to Stafford and to implement the Freeport Tax Exemption and a tax abatement program. In January 1999, the citizens of Stafford voted overwhelmingly to approve an additional ½% sales tax for the purpose of economic development expansion in the City. The new tax went into effect July 1, 1999. The following month, City Council appointed seven individuals to serve as the Corporation’s Board of Directors.