Co. Board: Maybe $30,000 toward ‘Grow Austin” initiative

Published 9:15 am Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The County Board proposed possibly committing $30,000 to the new “Grow Austin” business incentive plan. The decision was tabled until the next County Board meeting on Oct. 10.

City Administrator Craig Clark and Development Corporation of Austin Director John Garry outlined the plan during the meeting. Austin Mayor Tom Stiehm also attended.

The city partnered with Mower County, Austin Utilities and the Development Corporation of Austin in developing the plan, which aims to support quality job growth and positively differentiate the community as a business-friendly location. The incentive builds upon the State of Minnesota’s Job Creation Fund and the Capital Investment Rebate and Job Training programs.

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In order for a business to take advantage of the “Grow Austin” program, they would have to offer wages that are at least 140 percent of the poverty line, or $16.55 per hour. Current State of Minnesota incentives require a minimum of 110 percent.

The plan also requires capital investment with the establishment of a new building, officials noted.

The county could tap another economic development fund, but County Coordinator Craig Oscarson recommended the county keep the fund intact for other business development. The fund is intended to offer low-interest loans to prospective business.

The $30,000 would be included in the 2018 budget; any applications before that time would require the county to borrow from another source.

Mower County is the last member of the partnership to commit to the plan.