As long as the Bullards run the Chamber/ the Town and the Hamilton County Development Authority we will never have Growth

Anything Rhett Bullard gets involved in is a sham and his involvement in the Hamilton County Chamber likewise is not like anything I have heard of or seen.
Hamilton County Development Authority and the Hamilton County Chamber could do so much for businesses but they really don’t have a clue except to implement cronyism and nepotism.
I remember having two couples over for dinner and one of the men really ragged on our daughter for being in the Chamber, believing it was all frills and basically frivolous.  Tamara never shows any emotion in these cases because she knows what she and others do at the Chamber and Economic Partnership and it is amazing.  Everything they do is to assist their business partners and when awards are given, it is not just some random choice but alot of work goes into it.
For the Businesses who receive awards, the businesses themselves submit information about their companies and that information is reviewed by others, outside of staff, with guidelines of how to score each of the criteria.  I had the pleasure of being one of the judges myself and it is amazing what one can learn from the experience.  There is so much Hamilton County could learn from what CEP does in Marion County; yet, I am certain that is not the intent especially for someone like Rhett Bullard because he doesn’t care if businesses grow or if there is employment.  He only cares what his aunt may do for him which is a joke.


Rhett’s mind can only encompass things which tax the citizens, like securing SHE for businesses, which frankly would not develop much business or pay for the infrastructure and costs causing only the citizens and taxpayers to cover the burden.


Granted we are not as large as Marion County, but at least someone should think of the possibilities of at least starting some growth and working with small businesses so that there is growth.  But that will never happen as long as the Bullards keep trying to control the county for their own benefit.  We couldn’t even start anything on a minimal basis because there is no imagination and sound business practices among them.

Karin for the blog


This is how the CEP in Ocala assists businesses:


Marketing Opportunities

Marketing your business through the CEP is a proven and cost-effective way to attract new customers. Many business owners are using online and email advertising to market their goods and services to their target audiences. These forms of advertising prove to be economical ways to market to prospective buyers. Our marketing opportunities are designed to be both business-to-business and also consumer focused. Our goal is to provide CEP partners with cost-effective solutions to their marketing needs. The majority of our marketing options are part of your CEP partnership investment and the remaining advertising options are available for a nominal fee. For more information on marketing your business and CEP advertising opportunities, contact 352.629.8051.

Partner News & Press Releases

Investment: Benefit for all CEP partners

A new feature on the CEP’s website includes a Partner News page. Partner News is a special section exclusively featuring the latest news from CEP partners. Content ranges from new hires to acquisitions and industry awards to grand openings. This section is highlighted in the CEP’s weekly Fast Forwarde-newsletter. Submitting company press releases for inclusion in Partner News is an effective and convenient way to maintain a company’s visibility in Marion County’s business community while gaining recognition for its achievements. Businesses are responsible for creating the press releases. Sorry, the CEP does not promote products, services or events in our Partner News. Please see the Event Calendar, MarketSpace, or Hot Deals features for promotion.

Online Business Directory Listing

Investment: Benefit for all CEP partners

Every CEP partner receives an online business directory listing so that visitors to the directory (approximately 15,000 a month) can easily search for your business by category, keywords and alphabetical listings. Partners are able to login and update their information at any time. As soon as their new information is saved, the information is automatically updated in the CEP’s database and the online Business Directory listing at the same time.

Online Informational Brochure

Investment: Benefit for all CEP Partners

Each partner receives their own informational brochure page which can include your business description, hours of operation, location information, and up to eight keywords (these help identify your business when a website visitor does a keyword search on the Business Directory).

Enhanced Online Business Directory Listing

Investment: $800 per year per Business Category | Benefit for partners at Legacy Level and above

An enhanced partner listing in the CEP Business Directory provides priority listing and web search results over basic listing. Added features for your company listing include:

  •  Logo placement
  •  Increased space for company descriptions
  •  Map link
  •  Photo gallery with capacity for eight photos and one YouTube video
  •  Bullet points to draw the visitor’s attention
  •  Eight additional key words
  •  Priority placement above Basic listings

Online Partner Events Calendar

Investment: Benefit for all CEP Partners

Do you have an upcoming event? Are you trying to generate additional traffic to your store? Do you want your event to reach an audience outside our area? CEP partners have the privilege of promoting their programs, seminars and events held at their location, and the calendar is available for any visitor to see and learn about the variety of programs, seminars, and events being offered.

Online Job Postings

Investment: Benefit for all CEP Partners

Do you have a job vacancy that must be filled? Looking for new employees? Do you want to reach an employee pool from outside our area?  As an added benefit of CEP Partnership, we provide an area on our website for CEP partners to post job openings in their companies. This section of the website provides members another venue to find the best and brightest employees. To have your company’s open positions listed on, simply log into your CEP Partner Portal to list your employment opportunities!

Discounts and Hot Deals

Investment: Benefit for all CEP Partners

Do you want to move slow-moving merchandise? Do you have a special to advertise? Do you want to grab the eye of visitors on the CEP’s web site?  Log into your CEP Partner Portal to advertise your own store special! Upon approval, your Hot Deal will appear multiple places on the CEP’s website including: next to your name in the online Business Directory, on your Member Information Page, and by category in a special listing of all Hot Deals. Visitors to the CEP’s website will be drawn to your deal by its prominence. Hot Deals may be open to the public or can be restricted to other CEP partners only.


Investment: Benefit for all CEP Partners

Do you have equipment to sell? A property to lease?  Do you have a criteria specific discount such as Military member discounts? The new CEP MarketSpace provides a customizable environment for partners to market a variety of items or discounts. Common offerings include military discounts, university discounts, auction items, real estate listings, or other items for sale.

Relocation Center Brochure Display

Investment: $200 per year | Benefit to CEP partners at Business level or above

Bring your business brochures to the CEP office for display in the Relocation Center. It’s a great way to market your business to anyone who visits the CEP!

Weekly FastForward E-Newsletter Advertising


  •  Headline “Events Section” Ad (558 x 180 Pixels/7.75” x 2.50”)—$400 per month or $1000 per quarter
  •  Body “Program Section” Ad (558 x 108 Pixels/7.75” x 1.50”)—$250 per month

The CEP’s weekly emails place events and business opportunities directly in front of more than 2,000 potential customers. This is an economical way to have your message delivered in a trusted and easy-to-read email format. Specifications: Print-ready materials will be accepted in JPEG format.

Quarterly NetWork Magazine Advertising

Investment: Contact Jennifer Madden for more information.

Reaching a targeted market of more than 2,000 CEOs and business professionals is easy when you advertise through the CEP’s quarterly magazine. Network features CEP news and events, business tips, and showcases our new and renewing CEP partners. Produced in partnership with Ocala’s Good Life, advertising is exclusively for CEP partners.

Online Business Directory Banner Advertising

Investment: $600 per Year | $180 per Quarter | $75 per Month

Online Business Directory banner ads may be placed at the top of any category listing. Banner ads are 500 x 60 pixel, GIF or JPEG format images, and are displayed near the top of the web pages. The ad features a link to your website or email address with the ability to monitor click through activity.

CEP’s Printed Relocation Guide & Business Directory

Investment:  Varies based upon ad size and type—Contact Trevor Byrne at Ocala’s Good Life for more information.

Produced annually, this popular publication lists CEP partners, provides important statistical data, includes colorful community pictures, highlights important phone numbers and much more. Thousands of copies are distributed to hotels, libraries, new residents, businesses, government agencies and other interested parties. Advertising opportunities range from full-page colored ads down to bold business listings. Advertising sales generally take place during the fall to meet a February publication release.


Business Advocacy

The Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership (CEP) is an organization of business, promoting business, and representing the needs of business. No organization is better suited to represent the needs and concerns of the business community better than CEP.

In fact, advocating to local, state and federal officials on behalf of local businesses is a natural and necessary role for the CEP. While we advocate for or against certain proposals or plans, it will NOT include the endorsement of candidates. However, it does include hosting candidate forums and publishing their views on key issues as identified by partners and investors.

The driving focus of our Advocacy efforts is to partner with government to create a more dynamic business climate in which to work, live and play.


The State of Florida, Marion County and the City of Ocala aggressively promote new job creation by offering various investments to assist companies in their site and community selection process. These investments come in the form of grants, refunds, or abatements and may be used singularly or in concert with each other to enhance a company’s profitability. Typical uses for investments include: personnel recruitment and training, infrastructure development, mitigating moving costs, reduction of start-up expenses, etc. Generally most investments may be applied for by new or existing industry although the amounts may vary due to differing formulas applied to the status of the applicant.

State of Florida

Brownsfields Area

State tax incentives available for job creation, investment, and environmental mitigation by businesses located in this area. Benefits may include Job Bonus Tax Refund, building materials sales tax refund, and voluntary cleanup tax credits.

Capital Improvement Tax Credit (CITC)

A program of annual credits against the Florida Corporate Income Tax based on a percentage of capital investment. Program applicable to specific sectors including: life sciences, financial services, corporate headquarters, information technology, transportation equipment manufacturing and semiconductors. Minimum investment needed to qualify for this program is $25 million.

Economic Development Transportation Fund (EDTF)

An infrastructure program provided by the State of Florida and EFI which is designed to remove any transportation impediments to a company choosing a specific site within a community. Application is made in name of the company by the local municipality having jurisdiction over impacted roads. Grant amounts are directly tied to jobs created. Grants of $1 million or more require 200 new jobs, $200,000 to $1 million require 100 or more new jobs and less than $200,000 must produce up to 100 new jobs. Maximum grant amount is $2 million.

Incumbent Worker Training

A training program funded by the Federal Workforce Investment Act and administered by Workforce Florida, Inc. Provides training to existing workers to maintain workforce competitiveness. Training can occur at colleges, vocational centers or a company’s facility. Business must provide matching contribution and training must be completed by end of State’s fiscal year (June 30th).

Machinery and Equipment Sales Tax Exemption

Machinery and equipment used in the manufacturing process may be exempt from Florida Sales Tax through a process of pre-applying for an exempt status. Existing industries must demonstrate an increase in production of a minimum of 10%. Program is administered through the Florida Department of Revenue.

Qualified Target Industry program (QTI)

A tax refund program that is provided by the State of Florida and Enterprise Florida (EFI) based on the number of jobs created and the quality of those jobs. The program allows for refunds of up to $3,000 per job created within certain industrial sectors. Refunds may be taken against corporate income tax, sales tax, intangible personal property tax, insurance premiums and certain other taxes. Requirements are that a minimum of 10 new jobs be created and that those jobs pay a minimum of 115% of the County’s average wage. (Salary requirement may be waived in a Brownfield site or enterprise zone.) Local governments must agree to a matching fund of 20% of the total requested. Program may be used in conjunction with other programs such as “Brownfields” to increase the total per job funding amounts. NOTE: The QTI refund program MUST be used as an inducement.

Quick Response Training program (QRT)

A training program administered through Workforce Florida (WFI) which is designed to help companies identify, recruit and train employees during initial phases of locating or expanding in a Florida community. The program requires at least 10 new full-time jobs be created and allows for training in educational or company facility. Company salaries must be at least 115% of the County’s average wage. (Salary requirement may be waived in a Brownfield site or enterprise zone.) Training programs can be established locally through the College of Central Florida, the Marion County School System or other approved facilities.

Urban Job Tax Credit Program

A program of tax credits against Florida’s Corporate Income Tax or Sales and Use Tax for companies locating within specific urban areas and employing a specific number of employees. Communities are identified by size which dictates number of employees necessary. Tax credits vary from $500 per job created to $1,500. NOTE: The State of Florida maintains additional incentives specific to certain industrial sectors.

Waiver of Sales Tax on Power Consumption by Manufacturers

A State program that allows communities (if they choose) to eliminate the State’s portion of the sales tax normally charged on power consumption in the manufacturing process. The applicant must commit at least 75% of its physical structure to a manufacturing process and must request the elimination from their power supplier.

Marion County

Economic Development Financial Incentive Grant (EDFIG)

A grant program that authorizes direct cash grants to qualified companies that invest a minimum of $300,000 and create a minimum of 10 new jobs at 115% of the Average Earnings Per Worker in the County. Grant amounts are equal to a percentage of the increased Advalorem taxes generated by the project. Grant amounts vary according to location.

Industrial Development Bonds (IDBs)

A Marion County supported financing program designed to utilize assets and future income of the applicant to guarantee payment of low interest loans. Interest paid to bond purchasers is exempt from federal income tax allowing the buyer to pass along savings to the company in the form of lower rates. Funds may be used for land, building and equipment purchase as well as some “soft costs” such as architectural fees, etc. Users must be manufacturers, health care related or certain non-profits. The maximum amount allowed is $20 million and the practical minimum is $1.5 million. Interest rates are negotiable and are usually tied to a percentage of the current prime rate. A federally mandated per capita amount of bonds are allowed annually.

City of Ocala

Economic Improvement Program (EIP)

The purpose of the EIP is to create economic growth within the Ocala city limits and utility service areas through both the attraction of new business and encouragement of existing business to grow and expand. Funding may include, but is not limited to; the waiving, crediting, or payment of fees, reduced rent on city owned property, grants, land donation or exchange, capital improvements, required infrastructure improvements, grant matching funds, gap financing, and loan guarantees among others. The program is administered by the City of Ocala Revitalization Strategies Department.  NOTE: Applicants MUST locate within the City’s utility service area and each application is approved by Ocala City Council.

Chamber & Economic Partnership (CEP)

One-Stop Concierge Service

The Chamber & Economic Partnership will be with your business from beginning to end whether attraction, creation, or expansion.  The diverse array of organizations and programs encountered in the economic development process can create significant challenges for businesses at all levels.  Our one-stop concierge approach is tailored to assist you through the planning, design and development process. Whatever your need, from workforce training and employee recruitment to technical assistance with government contracting, process improvements, and export growth, you will have a knowledgeable team that will be there to support and assist you from start to finish.

Commercial Real Estate Listings

Whether it is properly zoned land or an existing building, the CEP can help businesses find the right location to grow in Marion County. Visit our Sites & Buildings page to find your new building or site.

Business & Economic Demographics

The CEP provides valuable research to help companies evaluate the feasibility of their expansions in this market. From business climate and workforce to assets and infrastructure, information is key to every aspect of business planning. Our easy to access economic figures, demographic data, trend analysis, and industry data will help you with expansion opportunities, strategic planning, market studies and business plans. Visit our Demographics page to find a vast array of up-to-date information for your every need.

Business Training Solutions

The Enterprise Center at the College of Central Florida (CF) houses two agencies connecting resources to benefit the business community; Workforce Connection and CF – Corporate Training.  These organizations have received national recognition for their collaborative efforts to assist companies.

Permitting Assistance

The CEP can help coordinate the process. Getting to the right place and the right people the FIRST time.

Workforce Development

CEP partner, CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion, has several free programs to help businesses identify, recruit and train employees. CareerSource CLM is a proud partner of the American Job Center network and member of CareerSource Florida.

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