Tax credit helps State Farm become ADA compliant

This summer, State Farm hired ACE Concrete to build an ADA-compliant ramps and steps. Thanks to a tax credit, small businesses can receive a deduction once they become ADA compliant. (Photos submitted)

The new ramps and steps outside State Farm Insurance can safely accommodate those in wheelchairs, walkers, motorized scooters, even parents with strollers. The parking lot was also recently finished.
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

Things look a little different at State Farm Insurance in Monticello. 

Over the summer, Agent Rick Meyer had the steps and ADA-accessible ramp redone, as well as the parking lot. The whole project was prompted after Meyer realized his ramp was not ADA compliant. 

The owner of the Mercy Clinic building approached Meyer about sharing in the cost to redo the parking lot. However, before the work could begin, Meyer felt it was important to complete the steps/ramp project first. 

“You could visually tell the ramp was not compliant,” Meyer said of the old structure. “Customers who used the ramp said it was too steep.” 

Looking at ADA laws, Meyer realized he needed a 36-inch wide ramp that was 60 inches (5 feet) long. Meyer’s old ramp was already 36 inches wide, but it was far from the length requirement. 

“It needs to have 1 inch for vertical rise for every 20 inches of horizontal length,” explained Meyer. 

So Meyer got to work, talking to Economic Development Director Derek Lumsden to see if there were any grant programs available for such a project. (At this time, the city was looking at applying for the Main Street Iowa designation.) 

Meyer also sought advice from his pastor, Wade Reddy, from Wayne Zion Lutheran Church. Reddy’s son, Joseph, uses a wheelchair, and Meyer wanted to make sure this project was in line with ADA requirements. 

As it turned out, Joseph and his father were leaving for the National ADA Symposium in Texas. Reddy brought back some very helpful information for Meyer. 

He found out that there is an IRS tax credit program that offers tax deductions for small businesses that complete ADA accessibility projects. Section 44 of the IRS tax code pertains to small businesses. Section 190 pertains to all other businesses (based on total revenue and number of employees). 

“I was able to do section 44 and was eligible for a 50 percent credit,” said Meyer. 

The maximum tax credit is $5,000, and Meyer was able to pay for half of his total project, replacing the steps and ramp outside of State Farm Insurance. 

“I maxed it out and got the maximum credit,” he said. “My out-of-pocket expenses were only half of the project.” 

The credit applies to any exterior or interior ADA accessibility project, and Meyer feels more businesses in Monticello should be aware of the program. 

“I encourage other business owners to look into it,” he urged. Meyer said some may not be aware that they are not ADA compliant. 

He said the convenience doesn’t only apply to customers in a wheelchair, walker or motorized scooter, but parents pushing their kids in strollers as well. 

“Once you have children with strollers you start to really empathize with people with mobility limits ,” he said. “It opens your eyes.” 

The ramp was also expanded to twice the original legth. 

Meyer said the local population is aging, and businesses need to be accommodating to that customer base. 

Meyer said he would have done the project regardless of the tax credit. 

After the ramp and steps were in place, the parking lot project was completed a few weeks ago. The steps were made shorter than the previous ones. After all, Meyer said the structure was put in place in the early 1900s. 

“At that time, the ramp was used for the freight elevator,” he said. It did not have to be ADA compliant. 

ACE Concrete (Beau Ehrisman and Cody Beitz) did the work on the new ramp and steps. The handrails were custom-designed by Tracy Chappell, painted by Claussen Painting. Kluesner Construction finished the parking lot. 

Meyer said businesses are not required to go to bod on their ADA project in order to be eligible for the tax credit. 

“It all needed to be done, and we are pleased with the end results,” said Meyer. 


Subscriber Login