Fort Scott working on tax break program to help small businesses expand

Program still needs approval by city commission

A program that’s in development in Fort Scott, Kansas would give tax breaks to small businesses.

“We do have a gap to help our small to mid-sized businesses expand as well as just keep them here in Fort Scott,” says Fort Scott Economic Development Director Rachel Pruitt.

Fort Scott has many small businesses that are great for the city.

Pruitt wants to find a way to keep them in the city, by helping them buy space of their own.

But, according to Bryan Holt with Union State Bank, that can be pretty challenging.

“Cash flow is always an issue,” explains Holt. “When you’re looking at buying a piece of property, one of the things that you’ve gotta factor in is how are we gonna pay for property taxes every year. And that is a little bit of a hurtle for them.”

That’s why Pruitt is developing a “neighborhood revitalization relief program,” which would give small business owners who have purchased a property a break on property taxes for ten years.

“The advantage of moving into the ownership is they really have more stake in the game, and that’s really what the city is behind,” says Pruitt. “We’d really like to see those businesses stay here, and go to a larger space, employ more people or offer more services that we can offer to here in Fort Scott.”

The idea is still in development and will have to be approved by the school board, Fort Scott Community College, the county and the city.

If it’s approved Holt thinks it will have a big impact.

“Having that ownership in our community helps to increase the engagement level just throughout,” says Holt. “And so, I think we would see multiples of positive impacts throughout the city and throughout the county.”

Pruitt hopes to present the program to the Fort Scott school board after the Thanksgiving break.

The Fort Scott City Commission will have to give the program final approval.

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