Southern commissioner candidates aim to bring jobs
Candidates say attracting new, aesthetically pleasing businesses is key
Wayne Hendrix, D-Cassville, and Matt Cupps, R-Shell Knob, candidates vying for the job of Southern Barry County Commissioner, are looking at ideas to bring jobs to the area and increase county revenues.
Hendrix, the incumbent, said bringing more businesses to the county would provide jobs for local residents as well as increasing local tax revenues.
"We're already part of the Enhanced Enterprise Zone program," Hendrix said. "We've only had one company that has used it. But it is intended to even the playing board between Barry County and other counties in the state when attracting new businesses to the area."
The program, adopted by the Barry County Commission Nov. 4, 2010, will be in effect for 25 years, until 2036.
The company that has taken advantage of the tax abatement program thus far is Scoular, an Omaha, Neb., company that makes grain elevators.
"I'd love to see more businesses coming to Barry County, but we have to entice them in some way," he said. "Revenues have been good for the past three years."
Challenger Cupps said local businesses should take steps to make their storefronts and merchandise appealing to potential customers.
"We can do things at the county level to make shopping districts more appealing to customers," he said. "They are going to be more likely to stop and shop at a business that is not located in a blighted area."
Cupps said he would also like to work on increasing business and shopping opportunities in the county's downtown districts.
"Larger cities are a great example," he said. "They established beautification projects, and because of those efforts, revenues in those areas increased."
Governmental operations for Barry County are funded by combined half-cent and 0.125-cent sales taxes collected from businesses, or fees for services set by each office. The county also collects and distributes funds from a half-cent sales tax to various road districts throughout the county. School levies and road district taxes, along with ambulance, library and fire district funding, are set by each governmental subdivision and collected from real estate and personal property taxes paid by local patrons.
The general election on Nov. 8.