City aims to help small businesses

Sales tax rebates to be offered

The city of Cortez is offering a new incentive program designed to increase spending and promote business longevity.

Cortez has been looking at the idea of a city sales tax rebate for small businesses for nearly six months now. The adoption of the "We're in this Together" economic development resolution was the city's proactive plan to try to stimulate the local economy.

"This is a pilot idea to grow new business," Shane Hale, city manager said. "This is our first shot at a more thriving business climate and the city wants to expedite that growth, to the extent that the city can."

From 2013-15, the city will be providing a 10 percent sales tax rebate to any business able to increase sales by 3 percent over the previous year's sales tax.

By rewarding successes, promoting the preservation and creation of jobs and working with the Cortez business community to increase the odds of a favorable outcome, the city hopes to see more economic development.

Hale sees successful small business efforts as key to a thriving community.

"People who are running a solid business are rewarding (the city) by bringing in more police officers, maintaining our roads, things that keep our city functioning properly," Hale said. "We rely on the business community to generate city sales tax, and they rely on us to spend that wisely."

The goal is to target small businesses that are 10,000 square-feet or smaller. There are no applications necessary. The business must be taxed commercially and be licensed. They will also waive 50 percent of the abatement of building permit fees and use taxes for businesses that remodel, expand or build their business over the next two years.

"We see examples of thriving businesses who are passionate and have a great product or idea and we want to reward their hard work," Hale added.

He also mentioned that they will be looking at the planning and zoning process to see if there are possible obstacles making it more difficult to develop a business. "Our community says this is our standard so there has to be some kind of controls in place," he said.

The city is working on producing newsletters, press releases and informational packets to send out to small businesses that quality.