By MICHAEL FREEMAN
(WARRENSBURG, Mo., digitalBURG) – The City Council made strides in revising its financial incentives program during a study session Monday night.
Following the recommendations of Barbara Carroll, director of community development, the council will set both qualitative and quantitative requirements for businesses applying for incentives. Also, the council decided to use a negotiable agreement rather than a flat application fee.
The city hopes that by offering a number of financial incentives, such as tax increment financing, more businesses will move into Warrensburg. Members of the council mentioned that the plan has come a long way, although the project is far from finished.
“We’ve come light years from where we started,” said Councilman Baird Brock. “People don’t realize the amount of work in this. We need to thank the staff.”
Tracy Brantner, executive director of the Johnson County Economic Development Corporation, presented a mock-up of what the innovative financing tools promotional booklet may look like. Interested businesses will receive a folder that includes an informational brochure and the incentive tool relevant to that specific business.
Choosing from several of Branter’s designs, the council picked a vibrant, colorful scheme to represent the program. The artwork features the words “GO BURG” in multicolor.
“It’s catchy. It’s bright,” said Mayor Don Butterfield. “You might pick it up out of interest and look through it.”
The brochure summarizes demographic data on the community, financial statistics and other reasons to do business in Warrensburg. The booklet also includes photos, charts and graphics promoting the city.
“The target audience for this is business people,” Brantner said. “They’re interested in the facts about what it will take to make money here in Warrensburg.”
When the program is complete, businesses wanting to take advantage of the TIF policy, for example, will go through an application process with the city. Tax increment financing works by reinvesting a portion of a project’s property and sales taxes into the project to cover infrastructure and other costs. The idea is to facilitate new development in the community.
The council settled some matters of technical policy, yet many details remain in question.
Looking ahead, the City Council and staff plan to add more detail to the application piece as the program moves forward.