Iowa Lakes Corridor looks to promote BV County
Economic growth is an issue that's on people's minds lately. States, counties and cities have been investing time and money into ways to help expand their capabilities for economic growth.
The Buena Vista County Board of Supervisors have not been slacking in that department either. The supervisors have enrolled the county into Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation, a four county group that works to help expand current businesses and to bring in new growth as well.
President and CEO Kathy Evert of Iowa Lakes Corridor has been working around Buena Vista, Clay, Dickinson and Emmet Counties to help with economic growth.
"Every community has access to tools to help actively assist in developing economic growth," Evert said during the Supervisors' meeting on Tuesday July 10. "One of the newest tools that is allowed by law is tax incentives."
According to Evert, governmental bodies can offer certain tax breaks to new businesses to help bring them into the community.
Another tool available to towns and counties is to create tax increment financing districts (TIF) to help both new and current businesses expand.
"TIF districts are used by communities to help expand business to areas they would like to develop," Evert said.
Supervisors agreed that a possibility of setting up TIF districts may be worth investing in.
"I think they would work on the areas just outside of Storm Lake," Supervisor Ken Hach said. If someone is driving down Highway 71 all they see is Storm 4 miles away, Storm Lake 6 miles away, which tells where the community is but there isn't much to pull a person in so developing the area would be good to bring in more people."
Supervisor Chairman Herb Crampton was pleased that Evert was able to come in to talk with the Supervisors.
"We have been committed to working on economic development and it is nice to feel like we have a partner with us," Crampton said. "It is great to be able to have someone that is here to help us."
Buena Vista County has been seeing a lot of growth in recent years in the renewable energy industry. Wind farms, ethanol plants and a biodiesel plant have been some of the major economic growths for the county.
"It's been cool and exciting to be on the board during all of these things," Crampton said. "My first 10 years in office, it didn't seem like much was happening but now we are really going."
Evert also talked to the board briefly about employment numbers they are gathering for a possible new business in Spencer.
"A company that constructs wind turbine blades has been looking at the area and we are supposedly the first choice," Evert said.
Iowa Lakes Corridor has also been working a campaign to help bring tourism into the area as well. One of the campaigns includes releasing a specially tagged fish with a number on it that could give the lucky fisherman a weekend getaway in five different lakes. However, Storm Lake was not included in the contest.
"The (Iowa Department of Natural Resources) wouldn't allow us to put one in Storm Lake," Evert said. "We wanted to include Storm Lake but they said no for whatever their reasons are, but we are looking forward to including Storm Lake in other ideas that we have as well."
Evert added, "We are looking forward to helping (BV County) out anyway that we can if there is anything that we might be able to help in we would be more then willing to try."
Supervisor Hach told the board that in different meetings that he has gone to around the country, he has met people who know or have heard of Evert.
"I was at a meeting in Los Angeles and she was there and she and Iowa strongly represented themselves," Hach said. "I've been very impressed with her."