By Kim Brooks, Express Editor
The city approved various Fiscal Year 2014 funding requests during the regular Monticello City Council meeting on Feb. 4.
Jones County Economic Development requested $7,592 from Monticello This is a proposed per capita investment from the city at $2 per resident.
JCED hosts monthly roundtable discussions in Monticello at the Renaissance Center, meeting with county businesses and business owners.
In a letter to the city, JCED Director Dusty Embree outlined particulars for which the funding is used: supplement the organizational budget, Director salary, office operations, marketing, website, business retention and execution of the strategic plan.
City Administrator Doug Herman told the Council that economic development is “tough to measure in terms of success, unless you see big things going on.”
He said JCED tends to help meet the needs of existing businesses versus shopping for new businesses.
“New opportunities tend to find Economic Development and work with them,” he explained.
“It’s important to work with our businesses here and help them with their needs so we don’t lose them,” commented Council member Dave Goedken.
Jones County Tourism requested $1,139 for FY 2014 from Monticello. This is based on 30 cents per capita, and was the same as last year.
In a letter from Bob Hatcher, Tourism director, he noted specific events in the area that draw tourism numbers: the Great Jones County Fair, Monticello’s Fourth of July celebration, the historic district and specialty shops.
Locals who serve on the Tourism Board include Jennifer Brink and Chip and Kim Smith. Chip Smith was at the Council meeting to represent Tourism and gave an update on his campground, Walnut Acres, north of town.
Smith is in the midst of building and installing a swimming pool on his property between the main building and his residence. He said it would be a zero-entry pool and extend all the way to four feet deep.
“This attraction would increase my business by 30 percent,” he noted.
Smith said final plans are close to completion and he hopes to have it open in time for Memorial Day. He noted that down the line, he would like to open the pool to the public, not just customers staying at the campground.
In other City Council business:
• A public hearing was set for Monday, March 4, at 6 p.m. to discuss the proposed FY 2014 city budget.
• The Council discussed several options for use of residential TIF funds tied to the Breckenridge Urban Renewal Area. Herman explained that when an urban renewal area is tied to residential TIF, the city is required to set aside funds to be specifically used for low-to-moderate income purposes. The city has roughly $13,500 to use in this instance.
The Council explored the idea of using the funds for existing home improvements, where residents who qualify could apply for some funding to assist with certain projects in their homes. The city will look into options for such a program.