By Audrey Spencer
Killeen Daily Herald
LAMPASAS - City officials hope a new grant program will encourage the development of small businesses.
The program allocates $25,000 of economic development fund money for five new businesses in the city.
"We're hoping to bring in more small businesses, or encourage those that have been thinking about opening a small business to go ahead and do that," said Stacy Brack, city secretary and assistant city manager.
The city council passed the small business incentive program last week. To be eligible, a business must have not operated in the city in the past year, have invested at least $5,000 into the enterprise, employ from two to 10 full-time employees for the first year and meet zoning requirements.
Each business would receive $5,000 - $2,500 to be received when the business opens, and another $2,500 after one year of operation.
"If you close within 60 days after the one year anniversary of opening, you must pay the second $2,500 back," said Cherry Hargrove, coordinator for the Lampasas Economic Development Corporation. "And you wouldn't get the second installment of the grant if you close before operating for one year."
Applications are available at city hall and will be considered on a first-come, first-serve basis.
There are no restrictions in the resolution that limit what kind of business the grant money can be used for, though no costs incurred by the enterprise prior to the approval of the grant can be credited toward the grant funds. Businesses will have to sign an agreement with the city, which may outline restrictions, depending on the business.
"We've had two applications come in, and it should be on the LEDC agenda for next week's meeting, (Oct. 19)," said Brack.
Applications will be reviewed by the LEDC board, which will then make a recommendation before the applications are presented to the council, which will ultimately approve or deny the grant.
Brack said the city already has an incentive program for large industrial projects and had been getting requests during the last month for smaller incentives.
"We're going to work on what we would call a midsize incentive program, but we haven't started that yet," said Brack.
The city council approved the program only for this year, but may renew it next year.
Contact Audrey Spencer at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7476.