MINOT, N.D. — City leaders in Minot are re-examining local economic development strategies and the use of an incentive fund after recent fluctuations in the oil and agriculture industries.
City Councilman Josh Wolsky said the council will determine if there’s new methods for economic development that can be debated or if the city’s “old methods are as effective as we want them to be.”
The council has agreed to divert nearly $823,000 in sales tax that’s expected to be collected for the city’s MAGIC Fund to flood protection for 2018, the Minot Daily News reported. The fund was created in 1990 and has been used to grant and loan money to businesses.
Wolsky expects the council to discuss the subject in detail in November and said it will likely appoint a review committee.
Stephanie Hoffart, president of the Minot Area Development Corporation, said the MAGIC fund is vital to remaining competitive business recruitment. She said while a company might not need incentives to make a financial move in the city, they could assist in influencing decisions. But she Hoffart said economic isn’t solely about incentives.
“It’s one of the tools in the toolbox. It isn’t the only thing,” she said.
Mayor Chuck Barney said how and where money is being spent on economic development needs to be evaluated by the city. He said a broader view needs to be discussed than the new strategic plan that was prepared by MADC last year.
Barney prefers a committee to arrive at a plan following public input. He said eliminating funding for economic development efforts isn’t an option.
“Whatever industries we get in Minot, we really have to fight hard to get. That’s why I feel organizations like MADC are critical to the long-term health of the community from an economic point of view,” Barney said.
Information from: Minot Daily News, http://www.minotdailynews.com