The Mitchell County Courthouse

The Mitchell County Board of Supervisors has approved the first wave of projects to receive loans through Phase 2 of the county's economic development commission's Commercial Construction Incentive Program. 

The vote during the June 4 board of supervisors meeting in favor of those seven projects was 2-1, with Steven Smolik, board chairman, casting the dissenting vote. 

Supervisor Barb Francis said she was pleased with the price ranges for the projects, which include both residential and commercial.

Some of the new homes to be built will cost less than $200,000, according to Francis. 

Incentive funding is awarded as four-year forgivable loans. 

Tony Stonecypher, executive director of the Mitchell County Economic Development Commission, said one of the spec homes that received a loan during Phase 1 of the program has been purchased by a couple who have now moved in, and someone has bought the older home in Mitchell County where that couple used to live. 

This shows the program is creating more available housing in the county through a "domino effect," just as the commission was hoping, Stonecypher said.  

Smolik told the Globe after the meeting that he voted against the first wave of Phase 2 applications because he's not in favor of the incentive program. 

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"I don't believe in it," he said. 

The county has targeted $1 million toward the program as part of its tax increment financing revenue bond for Phase 2. 

Smolik said he doesn't think the county has a housing shortage, but even if it did, the problem should be fixed through private funding.   

Targeted projects for Phase 2 of the incentive program include construction of commercial and industrial at 20 percent of project cost, up to a maximum of $50,000. 

Additionally, rental and residential projects may qualify for up to $20,000 for a one-bedroom unit, $25,000 for a two-bedroom unit and $30,000 for a three-bedroom unit, with a maximum award of $240,000 for larger multi-family projects. 

Significant reconstruction/rehabilitation and adaptive re-use of vacant properties also will be considered. 

Applications are being accepted through December or until program funding is exhausted. 

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