WATERLOO — The city will continue paying the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber to help recruit new businesses and provide other economic development services.
Waterloo City Council members voted 6-1 Monday to approve a new contract with the nonprofit agency for the current fiscal year.
The contract includes $28,500 to help recruit new business, help others expand, workforce development and several other programs to market the area for business.
Another $56,500 in incentive payments are available based on the number of acres developed, tax base and jobs created through GCVAC efforts.
Lisa Skubal, GCVAC vice president of economic development, said those efforts landed $37 million in projects and 246 new jobs in the first six months of the fiscal year, primarily from expansions at Crystal Distribution Services and Tyson Fresh Meats.
Councilman Tom Lind cast the lone vote against the agreement after asking for another week to review it.
Lind said he did not receive a copy of a required written report that was provided by the GCVAC last week and included in council packets. Lind also did not attend a public work session on the contract prior to the regular meeting.
Mayor Quentin Hart said it was unfair to punish the GCVAC by delaying the vote.
“These folks did what they needed to and got it to us timely,” Hart said. “It would be nice to support that.
“They did what they were supposed to do,” he added. “If we didn’t have time to review it or didn’t take a look at our packets, that is up to us. … It’s one of the most detailed updates that you’ve ever received.”
Councilman Pat Morrissey had asked GCVA officials for insight on what attracts businesses to the Waterloo area and what is the biggest challenge.
Skubal said the city’s internal economic development staff is “transaction oriented” and willing to work with prospects to get deals done. The challenge was Waterloo’s high property tax rate.
Alliance and Chamber CEO Steve Dust said the city is generally able to cover the property tax discrepancy through additional incentives to businesses.
“You burn through incentives overcoming the property tax issue,” he said.
Dust said one of the biggest issues on the horizon involves talent development, which is why the GCVAC is working on programs to recruit and train the work force businesses need to thrive locally.