Imagine being able to go up to a kiosk at the airport and with the snap of a finger, be able to rent a car with a real-life human being on the other side.
That isn't too far off in the future, and it may all happen in Cape Coral if Economic Director Dana Brunett has his way.
After nearly seven hours of debate and discussion, the city council finally got some good news toward the end of its regular meeting Monday at City Hall.
Brunett said Hertz Rental Cars is considering moving a customer service/sales center to Cape Coral, which could bring in as many as 250 jobs to a city desperately in need of places of employment.
He also plans to include certain incentives in the city's deal to help sweeten the pot and bring the center to the Cape, with the help of the Lee County Board of County Commissioners.
The city council voted 7-0 to move the plan forward, with the idea to bring in jobs.
"The BOCC has to give approval and the company has to select us, but if it happens, that's very good news," Brunett said. "You saw what happened with Ford's Garage promising 70 or 80 jobs and they got 1,000 applications. People need jobs and a lot of them will qualify for these jobs."
With 250 people making around $30,000 per year with benefits, it will certainly bring more money into town. How much is tough to say, Brunett said. But it could mean the difference between renting and owning a home, which adds to the tax base, as well as taxes and fees from Hertz itself.
Brunett will speak with the county commission on Sept. 3 to ask them to partner with the city.
The city said it would incentivize up to 250 jobs for Hertz for as long as three years, at $750 a pop, which would be matched dollar for dollar by Lee County, if it agrees.
Brunett said the company would have to keep at least 200 of those jobs to keep the incentives, as everything Brunett does is performance based.
"I want them to perform before they see the money and if they fail to perform, we'll take some money back," Brunett said.
Brunett a decision from Hertz should come quickly because they want the operation up and running by early 2015.
Those on the dais were thrilled by the news, praising Brunett on a job well done while acknowledging it's all about the jobs.
"We never really needed high-paying jobs. We just need jobs," Councilmember Marty McClain said.
Brunett could not comment on possible locations or the other city in the running, as things are still ongoing. He only said that state is going after Hertz aggressively.
Hertz has rolled out a new program nationwide where customers can go to a Hertz kiosk at any airport, pick up a phone, and be able to speak with a person to secure a car rental.
The kiosks will have the ability to scan drivers' licenses and credit cards and print rental agreements.
As for the chances of Cape Coral getting the company?
"We have a better chance than those not involved. Right now it's wait for the BOCC and keep our fingers crossed," Brunett said.
Hertz announced in May it would move its corporate offices to Estero.