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Estherville City Council – Business climate appears healthy

By Staff | Sep 3, 2008

Members of Estherville City Council took an in-depth look at the summary report of the existing business climate in Emmet County compiled by the Iowa Lakes Corridor at Tuesday’s regular meeting.

Shaun Arneson, corridor vice president, said three established businesses in Emmet County were interviewed in the first quarter of 2008. At the same time, business interviews were also conducted in the other counties, including six in Buena Vista, nine in Clay and seven in Dickinson.

Arneson said the conclusion is that the existing business climate is healthy.

The three businesses interviewed in Emmet County added a combined total of 23 jobs in the last three years.

Some of the highlights from local interviews include:

n Two of the three businesses own their facilities (risk reducer).

n The combined number of employees of the three totals to 409.

n The total years in business equals 83 (an average of 27 years).

n Two of the three expect to introduce new products/services in the next two years.

n One noted sales are on the rise.

n Two of the three have plans in place to expand operations in the next three years.

n One anticipates an increase need for employees.

Each business was asked to respond to various questions. The opinions:

n Emphasize the community strengths as including loyal workforce, safety, housing, recreational opportunities and job availability.

n Note weak areas affecting business cited the area is too rural to recruit and there is low unemployment.

n List barriers which impede growth. Reasons were lack of workers and lack of sales locally.

It is the corridor’s stance the business climate is strong within the four counties.

The call program seeks the views of existing employers on the region’s economical standing and highlights the areas that area employers consider important.

The next planned interview reporting is scheduled for spring 2009.

Turning its attention to a resolution to authorize the acceptance of two bids from contractors for the Estherville owner-occupied housing rehabilitation program, the council gave approval.

Barb Mack, city community development director, said the bids were opened on Aug. 25 for two homes of property owners who had completed all paperwork.

She explained there was another eligible property, but it was determined it needed extensive work and there was not enough time remaining in the construction season to complete the improvements.

The council awarded the two rehabilitation contracts to Larry Graves of Dream Builders in Hartley. The low bid on the first property is $17,295 with the second at $6,600.

In other matters, the council:

n Agreed to assume ownership and maintenance responsibility for the sanitary sewer main and the water main under Briar Place Drive.

n Gave the nod to a request for a variance to allow a 50-foot wide driveway entrance at 102 S. Ninth St.

n Approved a sign permit application for the Rev. Arturo J. Gomez for office located at 620 First Ave.S.

n Renewed a Class C Beer Permit, Class B Wine Permit, and Sunday Sales Privilege for Kum & Go, No. 445 at 1615 Central Ave. Renewed a Class C Beer Permit and Sunday Sales Privilege for Duckwall-Alco Stores Inc. at 2402 Central Ave.