Tax-credit program seen as a way to spur business growth

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The Hillsboro City Council heard at its March 17 meeting of a new revolving fund that is being established to provide seed capital for entrepreneurs and small-business owners in the Hillsboro area.

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Gary Andrews (left), grounds superintendent at Hillsboro Muncipal Golf Course, watches as Smoky Valley Nursery of McPherson plants a large English Oak on the course last Wednesday. The Hillsboro Golf Association was promised $3,800 from the city to help it replace 13 trees this season.

Clint Seibel, executive director of Hillsboro Development Corp./Hillsboro Ventures Inc., said the new Hillsboro Entrepre?neurship Community Revolving Fund would use a tax-credit program established through NetWork Kansas to generate the capital.

NetWork Kansas is a program of the Kansas Center for Entre?pre?neurship.

Individuals or businesses that donate to the fund can claim a 75 percent state income tax credit for their donation.

?That means for every $1,000 donated, donors will receive a $750 credit directly off their state income tax liability,? Seibel said.

In some cases, he added, a contribution can have implications for federal taxes that will return additional benefit for the donor.

He said the effect of the tax-credit program is that a local taxpayer can essentially keep his tax dollars working directly in his home town instead of sending them off to Topeka.

The minimum donation is $250 and the maximum is $66,667. If the amount of the tax credit exceeds the contributor?s liability in the taxable year, the remaining portion of the credit may be carried forward until the total amount of the credit is applied, Seibel said.

He said Hillsboro is applying through NetWork Kansas for $125,000 in tax credits.

The money generated by the donations will go toward local entrepreneurs and small-business owners in the Hillsboro area who are starting or expanding a business.

Hillsboro Ventures Inc. would serve as the liaison between NetWork Kansas and the local business.

Seibel said he is accepting pledges for the 2009 tax credits, which are issued on a first-come, first-served basis. Half of the credits have to be pledged by April 1.

?I am excited about developing a revolving fund for economic development,? Seibel said.

Tapping tree funding

A fund to support tree projects in the city of Hillsboro that has been all but untouched for several years is suddenly in high demand.

The Hillsboro City Council decided at its March 17 meeting to use at least part of the existing fund balance to help the Hillsboro Golf Association replace some of the 40 trees the nine-hole public course has lost to storms and insects over the past year or so.

Mike Padgett, representing HGA, asked the council to designate up to $7,600 to help replace the trees that have been lost, noting the course is city-owned and draws a lot of visitors to town.

Padgett also noted the association members contribute a lot of free labor to the upkeep of the course as volunteers.

Padgett said the association is planning to purchase new 13 trees this season. Some are large trees at $1,000 per tree, while the rest are small trees at $500 each.

Padgett said the HGA received a significant price break from its supplier, Smoky Valley Nursery of McPherson.

Funding for tree-related projects is available through the city?s Tree Board, Padgett was told.

The fund, which has a balance of $12,682, was begun when the city received a grant in the late 1980s to plant trees as a visual screen between its maintenance shop and the newly opened U.S. Highway 56.

The issue facing the council now was that two other projects have surfaced in recent months with an eye toward at least some of those funds.

One project, originating with the city, is to plant trees to visually screen the city shop from its entrance along Adams Street.

The other project to emerge is the development of a downtown park that the Tree Board has proposed near the post office.

In the end, the council voted 4-0 to commit half of the amount requested?$3,800?for the HGA project.

Other business

In other business, the council:

n considered the merits and implications of applying for stimulus funds that would enable the Hillsboro Police Department to add an officer for one year.

The city would be obligated to pay nearly $4,385 to provide gear and a vehicle.

The council talked about the ongoing financial obligations to continue the position once the initial year is completed.

The council authorized Police Chief Dan Kinning to apply for the fund. If the application is accepted, the council will decided at that point whether to participate in the program.

n approved a contract through IMA Insurance for coverage of city-owned property totaling more than $14.43 million with a premium of $57,562. Last year the city paid $56,163 for just under $14.3 million in coverage.

n approved the renewal of a liquor license for American Legion Post 366.

 

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