While COVID-19 hasn’t effected steady economic growth this year, it did affect an economic development town hall hosted by Mayor Myron Bailey and Council Member Steve Dennis. They hosted a virtual presentation, allowing the public to ask questions, on October 14th. The forum provided City leaders an opportunity to focus on several key, positive numbers surrounding growth in the City’s residential, commercial and industrial sectors. Economic development, as explained by Mayor Bailey, focuses on creating investment in the form of new jobs and homes, attracting business from outside the community, retaining existing businesses and expanding the City’s tax base. Council Member Dennis was quick to point out Cottage Grove’s residential, commercial and industrial momentum has increased the City’s tax capacity by 49% in six years. You can find the presentation on the City’s YouTube and Facebook pages; the following numbers were presented to give taxpayers a look at how the City’s growth equates to lower taxes and better service.
· Single-family home permits increased from 60 in 2015 to 246 in 2019, a 410% increase
· In 2015, the City’s total valuation for single family homes equaled $20 million; by 2019 the valuation totaled $70.8 million
· In the past six years, Cottage Grove’s total commercial valuation has grown by more than $62 million
· Since 2017, the City’s overall vacancy rate dropped from 11.4% to 5.7% and the retail vacancy rate is almost 3 points below the metro area average
· The Business Park is booming, adding nearly 450 jobs in 2 years, including $110 million in investment from five employers
· The Economic Development Authority (EDA) provided $181,800 in emergency grants (not loans) to 19 small businesses effected by COVID-19. The funds were provided by the EDA trust fund; no taxpayer money was used