Investing in area pays great dividends

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opinions

August 25, 2017 - 12:00 AM

The new grocery store coming to town still has many up in arms about city and county “gifts” worth about $218,000 to lure it Iola’s way.
Between the two entities and Iola Industries, a total of almost $400,000 is helping G&W build a $3.5 million to $4 million grocery on 1.6 acres. That equals about 5.5 percent of the cost.
In Fort Scott, a new Price Chopper grocery is due to open before year’s end. It’s price tag, including a Dunkin’ Donuts, is $9.4 million. Of that, taxing entities have agreed to direct $2.5 million, or 27 percent of the cost, developers’ way.
Rachel Pruitt, economic development director for Fort Scott, said the new businesses will create 100 new jobs.
The new complex will occupy the former Woods Supermarket on South Main Street that closed last fall. The massive 39,500-square-foot building is “essentially being gutted,” Pruitt said, to accommodate the new businesses.
The city, in conjunction with Bourbon County and USD 234 school officials, arranged to use TIF, Tax Increment Financing, funds to help finance the redevelopment. Under TIF, the property taxes for the increased value of the land will go toward repaying the loan. The TIF financing is good for 20 years. Pruitt said she expects the loan by city and county entities to be repaid in nine years.
Nobody is out any money, Pruitt explained, because TIF is merely waiving a tax increase for a period of time as an enhancement for the project to occur.
In Chanute, the city gave $2 million to secure Orizon Aerostructures to locate there last year with stipulation that it maintain an employee base of at least 150 for a minimum of three years, according to Matthew Godinez, executive director of the Chanute Regional Development Authority. On the part of Neosho County, in-kind labor was provided to help clear the land for the $40 million plant.
As for the new travel plaza south of Chanute, it’s taking advantage of tax breaks through the Neighborhood Revitalization Program, Godinez said, but neither the gas station, restaurant or new hotel requested any buy-in from local government for the $13 million investment.
“I don’t think our city leaders would go for investing in retail,” Godinez said. “What works for one town, doesn’t necessarily work for another.
“We’re all after attracting new businesses, however we can.”

ONCE BUILT, G&W will enjoy a tax break on a sliding scale under the Neighborhood Revitalization Program.  
By year 11, it will be paying the full tax rate.
It’s expected to create about 30 jobs as well as a new retail experience.
Even though it’s not a large-scale industry, I wager the new grocery will be much appreciated and locals will come to view it as worthwhile investment.

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