County passes incentive for manufacturing employees

Published: Dec. 3, 2021 at 8:20 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 3, 2021 at 8:40 PM CST
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MISSISSIPPI COUNTY, Ark. (KAIT) - Mississippi County is expecting to see population growth after passing the “Work Here, Live Here” program.

The program provides an incentive for manufacturing workers in the county to encourage them to live in the same community where they work.

Eligible employees can receive a 10% payment on the cost to build a new home, ranging from $200,000 to $500,000, or they can receive a 5% payment on purchasing and renovating a home that is older than one year.

Great River Economic Development Vice Chairman Randy Scott said the current and new employees must work and purchase the home in the county for four years, earning a minimum annual wage of $60,000.

“That loan, through a Mississippi County financial institution, is forgiven through the county economic development tax,” Scott said.

Scott mentioned the money will come from the economic development tax, which was voted to be extended in August 2021.

Scott added not only will employees and their employers benefit from the program, but it will “help the homebuilders, it helps the hardware stores, it helps the landscapers, it’ll touch everyone in the county including small businesses.”

Some of the small businesses would include Kennemore Real Estate in Osceola.

Owner Ken Kennemore said he is ready to help others find or build their home in Mississippi County, adding the selection in housing is currently slim.

“There are people that have looked here in recent years, but there’s not anything new,” Kennemore said. “They want something newer.”

Mississippi County Economic Developer Clif Chitwood said the incentive program will be key for bringing people back into the job force.

“This will put a tremendous tool in their hands when they can offer a prospective employee this housing program,” Chitwood said.

County Judge John Nelson said the quorum court, passing the incentive program, comes after seeing the population loss in the county.

“It’s an exciting time to know we’re fixing to upgrade Mississippi County,” Judge Nelson said, adding the incentive program is the solution to the problem with bringing more workers in the county.

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