Some facts for businesses considering investing in Mojave:
1. Traffic Volumes. Traffic volumes for Hwy 14 in downtown Mojave are approximately 19,000 both ways in 2017, and have risen an average of 6% annually for the last 3 years, according to documents from CalTrans. Peak month is August, and Friday is the busiest day of the week.
|Mojave Traffic Volumes, Hwy 14 & Oak Creek Blvd (mile marker 16.866)|
|Avg. Daily Traffic||16,091||15,861||15,674||15,884||16,932||18,279||18,952|
|Source: CalTrans Dist 9, OTM32530|
2. Population data. There are about 5,258 people who live in Mojave, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Fact-Finder, 2014. However, there are about 2,500 full- and part-time employees who work on the Mojave Air & Space Port (MASP), according to HR surveys taken by the airport. These are highly skilled fabricators, engineers and technicians with an average annual salary of about $61k, which is 18% higher than the state average and 23% higher than Kern County. About 40% of the people who work on the airport live in Lancaster/Palmdale, while about 25% live in Tehachapi. 15% live in Rosamond, 10% in Cal City, 7% in Mojave, and 3% everywhere else.
3. Sales Tax. Kern County sales tax is only 0.25%, but Mojave generated almost $1 million in sales taxes in 2017 – mostly from gas/food businesses along Sierra Highway, according to the County Administrator’s office. That makes up about 2.5% of the County’s net sales tax revenue, despite making up only 0.01% of the population. Mojave contributes FOUR times the sales tax per capita in Kern County, three times as much as Tehachapi and Rosamond on a per-capita basis, and 72 TIMES as much as Bakersfield.
4. Airport on the Rise. There are 2,500 full- and part-time employees on the Mojave Air & Space Port, and increasing by about 10% each year. Anchor tenants have added about 300 jobs since 2017, and continue to expand. Federal grants could add millions in infrastructure investments through 2022 to moderninze the spaceport and rocket test area. There are about 200 structures on the airport, which are all routinely occupied, and the airport is in talks to construct new buildings and expand available hangar space.
5. Tax Incentives. Mojave was recently listed as Qualified Opportunity Zones (QOZs) by the U.S. Treasury. This program was established in 2018 by the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, and is designed to channel investment into rural, under-served areas. It focuses on census tracks considered “low income”, where investors can defer any federal income tax for up to 10 years on investments to include new construction and property acquisition. Investments must be made through “Opportunity Funds”, which the Treasury Dept. should release further guidance on in 2018. Here is a link to an interactive map of QOZs, and here is a link to the Treasury website on the program.
6. Rebates. Kern County is business-friendly, with easy permitting, sensible regulations, and offering healthy tax incentives to companies who create jobs here. There is a calculator available online, but for a new business bringing 10 full time jobs, with a $28/hr avg wage, generating $30k in annual sales tax… similar businesses have received sales and property tax rebates of 50%, which would result in a sales tax rebate of $10k, and annual property tax rebate of $15k.
7. Municipal Investments in Infrastructure. In 2018 Mojave added 50 solar power streetlights, and 4 linear miles of sidewalks along every street in downtown Mojave. This $1.25M project was a joint public-private partnership where the residents and business community raised much of the up-front investment, and Kern County ensures the long-term sustainability of the program. This is in addition to a $1M project in 2017 to install solar streetlights and crosswalks along K-street, and $250k in 2015 to install curb-and-gutter. These projects boost safety and security and establish a viable foundation for which to place further housing and mixed-use development.