The Harrisonville Board of Aldermen have passed a resolution to remove a step from their approval process for applications for incentives within the city’s Enhanced Enterprise Zone.
The purpose of the EEZ is to help attract large businesses with a number of employees in exchange for tax abatement.
“We have had some employer activity this spring that we have accommodated and what you need to understand is that some of these groups are on very aggressive timelines and projects, and anything that will deter that, slow down, or cause hesitation, presents red flags,” Economic Development Manager Jim Clarke told the BOA during a regular meeting Oct. 21. “We’re just trying to eliminate some of the reapproval process.”
Clarke said city staff and the EEZ board has recommended eliminating the need for BOA approval on tax abatement consideration because approval by the EEZ board would be sufficient.
He said it’s not a requirement that aldermen approve the consideration.
“Technically, it’s not required. Some communities go through the process, but the targeted industries have already been identified, so they’re either eligible or not eligible,” Clarke said.
Mayor Kevin Wood showed support for Clarke’s request.
“We’ve followed the state’s rules, we’ve set the statute, we set the targeted businesses, and they meet the criteria, we have no reason to vote against it,” Wood said. “We could infact be held liable if we voted against it after the policies were set.”
Ward 3 Alderman David Dickerson voiced concerns against the proposal.
“I think it should come with the approval of the board,” Dickerson said.
City Administrator Keith Moody also responded to the conversation in support of Clarke.
“Jim is the EDD guy that you hired and he’s been through a number of recruitments during his short tenure here and he’s observed that we put ourselves at a disadvantage by saying you have to go through these two boards to get approval,” Moody said. “These businesses have short timelines and they’re looking for reasons to scratch you off the list. They’re not looking for reasons to keep you on the list.”
Moody said the procedure to get recommendation from the EEZ and approval from the BOA makes the city look reluctant.
“That doesn’t help our cause,” he said.
The board approved the motion 6-1.
In other meeting business, the BOA took the following actions:
Made a proclamation designating the week of Oct. 20-26 as Harrisonville Business Women Week.
Approved an ordinance regarding a special use permit for the establishment of Cardinal Loans, a small loan establishment, located in the Gas Light Shopping Center.
Heard a presentation from City Administrator Keith Moody on 2012 Performance Measures in the area of Public Works
The city’s goal is to have 90 percent of the performance measures to be better than average.
Of the 14 performance measures included in Part 2, Harrisonville had 10 categories that were better than average, or 72 percent. In 2011, the city was at 79 percent.