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Posted on October 20, 2017 at 10:27 AM by Kristy Bansemer
Sure seems like I’ve attended a lot of ground breaking and ribbon cutting events this past year. Development of new businesses is booming in Derby. It’s important for me to say most of it is completely market-based, meaning your City leaders have a strong commitment to providing a level playing field for businesses. We provide tax breaks or other financial incentives for very few businesses, and any approved incentives are based on written policies that spell out the public benefit to be received.
For example, the City of Derby did not give tax breaks or otherwise subsidize Wesley ER or the future Rock Regional Hospital that just started construction. These and other medical offices like Heartland Cardiology and El Paso Animal Clinic who have made market-based decisions to grow and prosper in Derby are not subsidized with public tax dollars.
Most cities in Kansas would love to be in the position Derby is in—commercial construction and growth without heavy tax subsidies.
Almost 20 years ago, the City of Derby invested in property west of K-15 to make it attractive for growing small businesses. Currently, we have a few lots left in the West End Business Park to sell at substantially below-market rates. Depending on certain circumstances (number of jobs, amount of capital investment, etc.), some businesses who qualify to buy these lots can also qualify for a tax abatement.
By and large, most new commercial construction is undertaken by people who did their homework and chose to invest in Derby. They believe they have a market for their goods and services, and they want to be a part of Derby’s future.
I am proud of City staff who assist business people with information as they explore options for growing their businesses and who relay information about the City’s incentives policy. Retail businesses do not qualify for special treatment. No, the City does not choose which restaurants invest in Derby. These kinds of businesses do their best to estimate the local and regional demand for their products and services…and they invest their own money.
I am also proud of City Council members who volunteer their time and energy to consider options for investment of Derby tax dollars in streets, water & sewer lines, and other public infrastructure to make Derby a good place to do business. For example, development of the K-15 Area Plan will guide the City in making future investment decisions about how to enhance the business climate along the K-15 corridor from Patriot to Meadowlark. Such investments of public tax dollars should serve to support all business development in the area rather than directly subsidize a few businesses with tax breaks.
Nurturing a strong business community is a key part of the City’s mission. Together, the City Council and staff work to achieve this mission, and the community is better for it.
Randy White, Mayor
Published in The Derby Informer on Oct. 18, 2017.