First application made for city’s JOBZ Business Subsidy program

The Little Falls City Council has received its first request for use of the JOBZ (Job Opportunity Building Zones) Business Subsidy program. Recently approved by the state to stimulate business in Greater Minnesota, JOBZ allows new or expanding businesses to go without paying any property taxes, state corporate income taxes or sales taxes until Jan. 1, 2015.

The first local request for use of JOBZ is from Meyer Associates Teleservices. Based in St. Cloud, the company, with a blend of services and resources, helps other companies market their services or products. Used by Meyer are inbound and outbound teleservices, direct mail, invoicing, e-mail response, phone matches, database management and web-based programs. In addition to its offices in St. Cloud, it has offices in Brainerd and Little Falls. Its local request is to construct a 3,700 square-foot building in the West Side Industrial Park. According to Tom Caprio, president of Meyer Associates Teleservices, the company is looking at hiring an additional 10 to 20 more employees once its new facility is built.

Upon receiving the request from the company, the City Council called for an April 26 joint public hearing with the Economic Development Authority to consider it.

Also to be considered by the council will be a review of, and possible amendment to, the “wage offered” section of the city’s JOBZ policy.

In other business, the council:

• Approved two change orders, totaling $13,383, from Emmons and Olivier Resources of Oakdale in its design of the storm water management plan and its preparation of the pollution prevention plan for the North Bluff Business Park. The additional work is a result of a higher water table in the area than originally indicated, and because the project was “fast-tracked” to give Custom Roto-Mold an early construction date. When asked if he thought the change was justifiable, City Engineer Don Anderson answered, “Yes, it’s a reasonable request, and you’ll probably be seeing more as new requirements take hold;”

• Accepted the recommendation of the HRA and awarded the $7,200 bid from Rich Kliber Construction to construct a new subfloor at 612 Florence Avenue, and to move the house at 21-1/2 First Avenue SE to the Florence Avenue location. Added to the agreement was an end of May time limit. The hope is to recoup the money paid out with the sale of the house. “The HRA should break even on this one,” said City Administrator Rich Carlson. “It’s hard to make any money on some of these projects;”

• In connection to the above, tabled a decision on the vacation of the alley, as requested by developer Mike Roach, between Front and Wood Street and between Broadway and First Avenue SE. The request to table was made by the Park Board members who want to look more closely at the request since the alley is at the back of Memorial Park;

• Accepted the recommendation of the Planning Commission and approved the preliminary plat and rezoning of a Planned Unit Development for the South Oaks Addition, located by the former dump and planned by McMeredith Development. The approval is contingent on the final plat having a minimum of 10,000 square-foot lots for the patio homes. Also set was the date of April 19 for a joint public hearing with the Commission to consider the final plat for the addition and master plan;

• Accepted the recommendation of the Park Board and approved the quotation of $1,936 from Central Minnesota Electric to replace the wiring at the Dewey-Radke House;

• Adopted the ordinance that sells the golf course property on Thomas Drive to T and T Holdings, LLC of Rice for $65,000; and

• Approved the Mayor’s nomination of Greg Zylka to the Airport Commission. Zylka will be replacing Ronn Niewohner who recently moved out of the city.

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