With one swift action, the City Council accomplished a couple of noteworthy things last week.
The council approved a plan to provide some tax credits to Mason City Power Lifting, a fitness center started last year by two young, local entrepreneurs, John Berding and Jake Prazak.
That was the agreement last year when the two men purchased some property on South Federal Avenue, tore down an old, abandoned gas station and put up their building.
They put more than $200,000 into their efforts and were told by city officials they were entitled to some tax credits.
But they never got them. Somewhere along the line in City Hall, there was a failure to communicate.
To make matters worse, it was discovered their business was not in a taxing district that was eligible for what they had been promised.
That brings us to the first noteworthy action that occurred last week.
Government actually admitted it did something wrong.
When’s the last time you can remember that happening on the federal, state or local level?
In an effort to right the wrong done to the two young businessmen, the City Council set a public hearing on a plan to provide Mason City Power Lifting with $22,000 in economic development grants in the form of tax rebates for five years, with a declining rebate each year. They will begin with an 85 percent rebate of 2013 taxes and decrease by 10 percent each year to a 45 percent rebate in 2017.
City Administrator Brent Trout summed up the situation accurately. “We made a mistake and we corrected it,” he said.
The other thing worth noting in all of this is the outreach to a small business.
The City Council enters into development agreements frequently with with the Metalcrafts, Cargills, Curries and Harley-Davidsons of the world, as well they should.
A key component to the economic development of any community is retaining existing businesses and helping them grow.
But providing financial incentives to businesses like Mason City Power Lifting sends exactly the right signal to young people who have dreams of starting their own business.
They might just decide to stay here and do it.
So it’s too bad the deal got lost in the shuffle last year, but the city took full responsibility for the slip-up and fixed it.
As they say, better late than never.
Reach John Skipper at 421-0537 or firstname.lastname@example.org.