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The Mountain Home City Council met in workshop session Thursday evening with Mountain Home Chamber of Commerce Director of Economic Development Bo Gregory to address ways the city could create jobs by attracting new business to the community and helping existing companies expand. Recent decisions by the council, denying a request from Hobby Lobby to waive a $2,467 fee to connect to the city's water system and approval to build a 220 foot road extension for a new Harp's grocery, prompted members to develop a written policy for such requests in order to treat all business requests equally.
Gregory told the council members the most common requests he heard from developers he had interviewed dealt with the cost of curbs and gutters, sewer tapping fees and water retention. After discussion and input from Mountain Home Street Director Amon Tilley and City Building Inspector Greg Ifland, Councilwoman Marshella Norell suggested considering a proposal developed by Councilman Joe Dillard. The proposal provides for $700 credit for every full time job created by the new or expanding business. The credit could be used to waive building permit fees to the city only, tapping fees and some city services such as extension of an existing city street. A cap of $50,000 in credit was suggested and any unused credits would expire and would not be reimbursed from the city in cash. If the company failed to create and retain the promised jobs within a certain period of time, they would be responsible for paying back a prorated percentage to the city.
Dillard says he considers this incentive plan an investment in the community.
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Mayor David Osmon suggested Dillard, Gregory and he develop a formal resolution to be reviewed by City Attorney Roger Morgan and presented to the city council for approval.
Reported by: Debbie Stanuch