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City Council looks at business incentives

by Larry Patrick
WALSENBURG- The Walsenburg Finance Committee, made up of members of the City Council, discussed possible incentives for current and future businesses wanting to locate to our area.
The committee looked at economic development assistance policies of Monte Vista and Pueblo West. Most of the committee felt that Monte Vista fits the mold for Walsenburg to copy from.
Interim City Administrator Don Saling told the Finance committee that Walsenburg has the capacity to handle incoming businesses, large or small, as far as water availability and the new sewer plant is concerned. Our location along I-25, with railroad and other major highways are a good match for some companies.
The Monte Vista model provides incentives for the retention and/or expansion of existing businesses and new targeted businesses for their area. Right now, Walsenburg could offer tap reduction fees or property tax abatements through their mill-levy. Monte Vista offers additional incentives that Walsenburg wants to consider.
Huerfano County Chamber of Commerce President Nancy Lave said local downtown businesses are in need of help and would like to see some incentives for them to stay viable. Discussion centered on possible rebates on utilities for existing businesses based on a contest of who makes the most improvements on their buildings. The Chamber of Commerce will discuss a possible proposal with their members and get back with the City to see if such incentives might be viable.
The committee asked Saling to come up with a draft for economic development assistance that the Walsenburg City Council could consider in the near future, based on the Monte Vista model.