Economic development, and the maintenance of existing businesses in Linn County is of great concern to many residents. It is of special importance, though, to the two economic development directors in the County: Darrell Gardner of Marceline and Becky Cleveland of Brookfield.
With this in mind, Gardner appeared at the June 4 Linn County Commissioners meeting to discuss a potential incentive package for expanding and establishing new businesses in Linn County. Please note that everything that is being discussed below is in its infancy, if it even comes to fruition at all.
Gardner began his discussion with the Commissioners by pointing out the history of the Marceline IDA Board, and his history with it. A year-and-a-half ago, Gardner became the IDA Director for Marceline and set about taking an inventory of what the City had to offer.
The largest incentive that Marceline’s IDA Board offers is an up to $10,000 loan, that has been issued approximately three times since 2001.
According to Gardner, this is a ‘gap financing measure.’ In the past, this has included zero percent interest rate if paid off in the first two years, and two percent thereafter. This loan has also featured a forgiveness plan of $2,000 for each full-time position created.
Gardner then asked the Commissioners for permission to form an incentive program that the County could offer. He proposed a one-time payment of $25,000 to a new business if they meet the following requirements:
- A formation of a business of at least 20,000 square feet;
- Must be in the manufacturing industry;
- Must employ 25 employees or more;
- Must maintain these levels for two years.
This package would be made available to new manufacturing businesses in Linn County, and would also be used to help draw business to the area. Gardner noted, however, that there could be different money amounts and different requirements, at the discretion of the Commissioners.
Gardner also was open to the idea of this being worked out in a way that would include existing businesses, although this was not a part of the presentation on this occasion.