The beginning of 2015 was great for Bates County and economic development! I got the opportunity to plan great events and in the process I was able to work with amazing people in this community. I know I say this a lot, but I believe one of Bates County’s biggest assets is the number of people that are willing to help out and volunteer their time. Whether it was the Butler Movie Matinee or the Bates County Job Fair, there were so many businesses there to make it happen. Because of this, I have been able to form great relationships for the future of this county.
Before I start discussing my plans for Business Retention and Expansion (BRE), I want to take a minute to give a few updates on what has been going on. First of all Bates County’s efforts in the Georgetown University Energy Prize (GUEP) are underway. We have our first set of data due to Georgetown University in the middle of May, so I am excited to see where we are starting and set goals for the next 2 years. Right now our efforts are mainly focused on getting energy audits done for municipal facilities to see what can be done to update electrical systems. As we continue to move forward, the focus will shift to residential customers and school districts in Bates County. As always, I will keep everybody updated as we keep moving forward.
I am happy to say that the First Annual Bates County Job Fair was a success! We had 23 businesses setup booths and a lot of job seekers in and out throughout the day. The Missouri Career Center’s Nevada and Clinton offices were a great help to make this event a success. In the next few weeks I will be having a follow-up meeting with them to discuss how to move forward to make it even bigger and better next year.
Business Retention and Expansion
In the next few months my main focus is going to be on businesses that are located in Bates County and how I can assist them. It is important that all businesses within Bates County get the support they need to continue running efficiently. Whether that is getting the education necessary to make a business website or trying to relocate to a different building, I am here to help. My goal is to hold business seminars throughout the county to address these different needs so that we can continue this growth from within.
Just to give an idea of a few of the programs in place, Bates County is lucky enough to have their own Enhanced Enterprise Zone (EEZ), which is a property tax abatement for improvements made to real property. All a business needs is to be an eligible facility, have at least two new fulltime employees, and a minimum of $100,000 capital investment. In conjunction with the EEZ, the Missouri Department of Economic Development has the Missouri Works Program. This program requires the same amount of new jobs and investment and the benefit is the retention of the state withholding tax of the new jobs.
Another program offered in Missouri is On-the-Job-Training, which helps your business save hiring and training costs for new hires. This program provides 50% reimbursement of the wages of workers hired through this program for up to 1040 hours. The candidates for the position will be identified through the Career Center and they will possess a proven work ethic with valuable skills gained from prior employment and education/training. This is a great incentive for your business to hire that employee you need!
Bates County has a great foundation and the businesses within it are fantastic. It is important to me to be there in any way possible so that businesses can strive. I have put together packets of incentives for businesses, so if you are interested please call me at 660-464-2151 to setup an appointment. I will walk you through the entire packet and determine how best I can help.