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Board of Supervisors Updated On County Economic Development

By Staff | Aug 13, 2009

The Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors were updated on economic development in Palo Alto County during their Aug. 11, meeting.

Maureen Elbert, Executive Director of Kossuth/Palo Alto County Economic Development Corporation, provided the supervisors with the quarterly report for Palo Alto County Economic Development Corporation (PACEDC).

Elbert started her report with an update on the Enterprise Zone. Through the Enterprise Zone program, businesses locating or expanding and creating new jobs in economically distressed areas of Iowa can receive incentives, such as property tax exemptions and state tax credits.

“All indications show that the legislators are going to just let this run out, and it sunsets June 30, 2010,” said Elbert. “I talked to a few of the legislators and some of the young legislators just aren’t getting it. They’re saying it all has to do with tax credits, and I said that they don’t actually get the tax credits unless they meet the requirements.”

“What’s the down side for the state?” asked Supervisor Ed Noonan.

“I’m not sure,” Elbert answered. “It’s not like you sign a contract and get approved for the Enterprise Zone and you instantaneously get something. You have to meet it. Every quarter, there’s a report that goes in. Some of the young legislators said that I was absolutely wrong, so I told them that they would have to go to the Department of Economic Development and have then explain the process to them.”

Elbert continued, “We’re going to have to lobby to keep it, because for rural Iowa, this is it. It’s going to be very hard for us to get a lot of programs.”

In other economic development highlights, Elbert thanked the supervisors for their commitment with the new books and marketing folders. Both have gone to print and are expected to be out soon.

Elbert shared that the Ag Committee will meet and talk about developing the next Ag Energy Day, and that PACEDC has been meeting with a lot of area businesses.

“We’re going to be starting a ‘call visit’ program in Palo Alto County, and we’re going to be talking about coordinating better with the University of Northern Iowa Career Center. There are a lot of young people who are wanting to come back home, and we’ll be working on having them meet with local businesses and helping them get in the door.”

Elbert noted that a Succession Planning workshop is planned for Oct. 12, at the Water’s Edge Nature Center in Algona. This workshop is one of 13 scheduled throughout Iowa and is coordinated through Mid-Iowa Growth Partners.

“There’s often not a plan in place in smaller communities to purchase a business or even work out a plan for them to be eligible to be in business,” said Elbert. “At the workshop, there’s going to be a panel of four professionals that are going to talk about the steps you need to take.”

Elbert also mentioned that she has been working with Country Maid in West Bend on their expansion, and has heard many good responses from the recent county-wide economic development breakfast.