The Mason City City Council rejected a program from the NIACC Pappajohn Center that was designed to help small businesses create jobs. The vote was 3-2 in favor but needed four votes to pass. Don Nelson was not at the meeting but had not voted for the measure in the past.
The proposed program asked for a maximum $150,000 commitment of city funds over a three year period.
The proposal stated “the proposed Mason City Microenterprise Initiative (MCMI) is an opt-in program designed to help retain, grow and develop resident small businesses beginning in July of 2011.” This program would only be available to Mason City businesses, and if it was successful could be offered in other regional cities.
Theoretically, the city would gain tax dollars on goods and services purchased in Mason City, which would help cover any funds put forth by the City.
A participating business could be reimbursed for goods and services purchased in Mason City. These goods and services could include training, inventory, equipment, expenses related to hiring an employee, rent for commercial property, etc. The business would have to make the investments first, then apply for reimbursement, which the $150,000 in City funds would cover. Zanios mentioned that there could be 25-50 businesses that take advantage of the program over a period of years in Mason City, should the program be implemented.
Other benefits to a small business in the program would include ongoing counseling and technical assistance from the Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center.
Photos: Jamie Zanios of NIACC explains the micro-enterprise program to City Council members: