By Jan Rahn
As determined by the City of Grant and its Economic Development Committee, along with the Citizen Advisory Review Board, Grant’s program for economic development is quite effective.
In July 2002, the Economic Development Program was established through citizens voting 145 to 24 to adopt a property tax lid increase.
The approval meant that $128,000 per year for 10 years would be intentionally aimed at bringing growth to Grant.
Here’s the good news—the initiative meant the City of Grant would be able to use $128,000 from the increased property taxes.
But instead of charging citizens for the excess, the city would be able to replace that money with proprietary funds.
The bottom line for city residents was no increased property taxes.
Here’s the bad news—once the 10 year period ends, there is no mechanism for funding the program after July 2012.
It makes sense that someone looking to establish a business in a new community would most likely choose a community that is offering the most assistance.
Knowing that the City of Grant supports its local economy which in turn keeps the town viable is immeasurable.
Economic Development Program Accomplishments
Since the program started there have been 36 applications to the City of Grant Economic Development Program. Twenty loans were made totaling $528,750 to 19 owners of 17 businesses.
Thirteen of the businesses are still in operation today, directly employing an estimated 37 people, including owners, resulting in an estimated payroll of $515,040 annually.
• Application Breakdown:
Four were grant applications from Perkins County Health Services for purpose of retaining doctors.
Four were approved grant applications for surveys, the youth center and fitness center.
Five applications were denied.
Two applications were dismissed for lack of documentation.
One application was withdrawn.
• Loans: 20 loans were made.
Of the 20 loans, two are in default and are being pursued through legal means available to the city.
Two loans are past due with payments, although still in business.
Sixteen of the 20 loans are either current or have been paid in full.
No loan to date has been written off as “bad debt.”
Six loans were made, two apiece, to three businesses, in one case for expansion, in two other cases for transfer of ownership.