Winnebago & Worth Counties Designation Celebrations
14 Nov 2022
HOME BASE IOWA INITIATIVE
WINNEBAGO COUNTY, IOWA and WORTH COUNTY, IOWA: Home Base Iowa Initiatives begin in Winnebago and Worth Counties. The program began when it was passed by the Iowa Legislature in a broad bi-partisan manner and signed by former Governor Terry E. Branstad on Memorial Day, 2014. The Act contains the following provisions:
- State income tax exemption on 100% of military pension
- Up to $7,500 military and homeowner assistance
- Permissive veteran preference in employment
- Streamlined occupational licensure processes
- Automatic in-state tuition for qualified veterans, spouses and their dependents
- Veteran specific license plates
On Aug. 1, 2022, the Worth County Board of Supervisors met in regular session to approve a resolution supporting the Home Base Iowa Initiative. On Aug. 9, 2022, the Winnebago County Board of Supervisors met in regular session to approve a resolution supporting the Home Base Iowa Initiative. Part of this initiative is to offer meaningful incentives to veterans to return to Iowa. Both counties have offered a $1000 relocation assistance grant to those who do so. This will be distributed through the county’s economic development office Winn-Worth Betco (WWB). WWB is a 28 E agreement between Winnebago and Worth Counties and will fund $1000 in relocation assistance to a maximum of six veterans per year between the two counties.
Winnebago County held its Designation Celebration on Saturday morning, Nov. 12 at the Boman Fine Arts Center. Representative Henry Stone, MC, introduced Mary Lou Kleveland, the Veterans Service Officer for Winnebago County, as well as the Home Base Iowa Program Manager, Jathan Chicoine of Iowa Workforce Development. Kleveland gave an overview of what she and her office can provide to veterans in the county. Kleveland helps veterans with disability compensation, pension, VA healthcare as well as state benefits.
Melissa Michaelis, Executive Director of Winn-Worth Betco and Chicoine were invited to Worth County’s Roll Call VI event to celebrate Worth County’s Designation. Tom Reid, the Veterans Service Officer for Worth County hosted the event in which over 75 area veterans attended. Reid gave an update from the state and federal levels. Michaelis gave a summary of Winn-Worth Betco and the services it provides.
Chicoine addressed the public at both celebrations with an overview of the Home Base Iowa program. He stressed the importance of meaningful jobs and incentives for veterans who have been honorably discharged. Chicoine, a veteran himself, explained the significance and the impact the county’s actions will make on future veterans relocating to Iowa. At both celebrations, Chicoine also read a letter of acknowledgement from Gov. Kim Reynolds.
Michaelis encourages businesses in the surrounding communities to reach out to learn more about how to become involved. “Once this step is complete, the next step will be to approach the cities and work with each of their councils toward a designation of their own,” said Michaelis. She has already approached two cities that have done so.
Forest City passed a resolution on Jan. 18, 2016, in support of the Home Base Iowa Initiative. Beth Bilyeu, Forest City Economic Development Director, worked with the city council to finalize the application. Michaelis submitted the paperwork in November, and the city will receive acknowledgement from the governor’s office in December. Forest City will be offering the following incentives:
- $500 in relocation expenses (reimbursement basis)
- $300 gift baskets, including gift certificates, coupons, discounts, waivers and memberships to activities and businesses
- Community tour and arrangements with various service providers
- WCTA Internet – 200 mbps at $75 a month for four months
- $80 a month for four months toward utilities
Northwood passed a resolution on Sept. 12, 2022, in support of the Home Base Iowa Initiative. Michaelis submitted the paperwork in November, and the city will receive acknowledgement from the governor’s office in December. Northwood will be offering the following incentives:
- Tax abatement for new construction (100% of the first $75,000 for five years)
- Welcome packet
- Free recycling bin
- One-year subscription to the Northwood Anchor
Home Base Iowa assists veterans transitioning from military to civilian life by connecting veterans with close to 1,600 businesses, 21 college and university partners and 65 other Home Base Iowa communities statewide.
Home Base Iowa designates qualified communities as centers of opportunity for veterans based on four criteria:
- 10% of businesses become Home Base Iowa businesses and pledge to hire veterans
- Custom incentive package for veterans
- Home Base Iowa Community designation prominently displayed and
- Resolution of support from appropriate local governing body
To learn more about Home Base Iowa, visit www.HomeBaseIowa.gov.
Winn-Worth Betco is the Winnebago-Worth Counties Betterment Council. Winn-Worth Betco was established in 1991 by a group of forward-thinking citizens to ensure that the area would see economic growth through organizing an economic development office. Winn-Worth Betco serves the economic development interests in housing, tourism, community development, and business recruitment and retention for Winnebago and Worth Counties. The Executive Board is composed of both the Boards of Supervisors of Winnebago and Worth counties. The Advisory Board is composed of representatives from all 14 incorporated communities in Winnebago and Worth counties as well as one member of each of the county Boards of Supervisors in Winnebago and Worth counties.