According to Assistant City Manager Brian James, creating the empowerment zone gives council the basis and justification for waiving fees for business coming into the area.
“Main Street has the added burden of it [being] a redevelopment effort, which tends to come with more cost, [and] often the infrastructure is subsidized,” James said. “There are materials that are not used today; there is more replacement required. We have the flood plain issues as well.”
Waiving fees would help assist business owners with getting started on Main without the concern of extra expenditures.
“Those small-business owners don’t necessarily have the same level of funding, and when they get hit with an extra couple hundred bucks in a tap fee or an extra couple thousand dollars in sewer impact fees, it can be problematic,” James said.
Fees that will be waived by the city will be discussed at a future meeting. Council also requested that staff look at forming another empowerment zone along FM 78, which staff plans to present at a future meeting.