Vote Tuesday, February 3 Hawkeye CC Referendum
State Rep. Bearinger Feb 7 Town Meetings
SBDC in Buchanan County: February 16

Sign-up now for Leadership Development Program
New Business Tax Deductions
Getting Ready to Dance in March! 


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A weekly newsletter from the Buchanan County Economic Development Commission (BCEDC)

The primary mission of Buchanan County Economic Development (BCEDC) is to foster a strong economic environment which supports business, nurtures growth and new investment while attracting sustainable businesses and a quality labor force to our communities. The organization will rely on trusting relationships to unite the communities of Buchanan County to promote and facilitate economic development, and to improve the quality of life in our area by building sustainable wealth for those who live, work and play in this portion of the Cedar Valley Region of Iowa.
Be Sure to Vote!  Hawkeye
Community College Referendum

Tuesday, February 3
Hawkeye Community College (HCC) is one of Buchanan County’s most important resources for economic development and for advancing educational opportunities.  Businesses can have their employees trained through HCC so that local companies can compete with any competitor anywhere in the world. Individuals can acquire the education needed to find good jobs to support their families, and Buchanan County high school students can earn duel high school - college credits through Hawkeye.  Hawkeye Community College directly and positively impacts all us.
To enable Hawkeye CC to continue and expand its services, the HCC Board of Trustees is asking voters to continue an existing levy that is due to end. Passing the levy will result in no increase of the tax rate. Hawkeye’s overall property tax rate of about 95 cents per $1,000 of taxable value is not expected to change. Dan Gillen, vice president of administration and finance, said, “The bond portion of the tax levy would rise from 13 cents to 25 cents of the total. However, the college has adequate reserve funds to reduce other tax rates that make up the overall levy.”
Funds would be used for a variety of purposes including the expansion of career academies at the region’s high schools and Hawkeye’s outreach centers, including the Independence facility. Additionally a new Health Sciences Technology Center would be built on the main campus. The Health Sciences Center will make it possible to develop a virtual hospital in which students practice skills and procedures on sophisticated simulated human beings.  Also,  a new Adult Education Center would replace and combine two aging structures and eliminate some duplicated services.

Where to vote on Tuesday, February 3?  Poll locations are determined by school district.
  •  East Buchanan School District will vote at St. Patrick’s Parish Center.
  • Independence School District will vote at the Falcon Civic Center
  • Jesup School District will vote at the Presbyterian Church in Jesup.
  • Wapsie Valley School District will vote at Wapsie Valley High School.
  • Residents in the Oelwein and Starmont School Districts, are not in the Hawkeye CC region and will not vote on this referendum.
State Representative Bruce Bearinger to
Hold Listening Posts in Independence & Winthrop

State Representative Bruce Bearinger will hold a listening post, 9:30 a.m. Saturday, February 7 at the Independence Public Library. 

He will then make himself available at Winthrop City Hall at 11:00 a.m.

Rep. Bearinger asked that you  "Come join me for a community forum and find out what is going on at the State Capitol. Please bring any questions and concerns you might have regarding the state legislature."


Representative Bearinger's District 64, includes most of Buchanan and Fayette Counties.
Small Business Development Center Coming to
Buchanan County in February
If you are you thinking about starting or expanding a business and you’re not sure about how to proceed, the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) can help. The Buchanan County Economic Development Commission (BCEDC) has made arrangements to the UNI SBDC to come to Buchanan County.  The SBDC will be operating out the BCEDC offices on the 3rd Monday of each month.   The next visit is scheduled for Monday, February 16, at 112 1st. St. Independence.
Established in 1981, the Iowa SBDC’s provide free, confidential, customized, professional business advice in all 99 Iowa counties to entrepreneurs and existing businesses with 500 employees or less. The SBDC also presents affordable workshops that teach practical skills and techniques, conduct research, provide comprehensive information services, and offer access to subject matter experts in a variety of fields.

Call BCEDC Director George Lake at 319-334-7497 to set an appointment to meet with the SBDC on Monday, February 16. The Buchanan County Economic Development Commission offices are located at 112 1st. St. Independence.   

You can also set
an appointment to meet at the UNI Small Business Development Center in Cedar Falls by calling 319-273-4322.
NOW is the is Time to Enroll in the Buchanan County Leadership Development Program
“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.”—Warren Bennis
The 2015 Leadership Development Program will  begin in one month and registrations are limited. We will meet on 8 consecutive Thursday evenings, February 19-April 6, from 6:45-9:15  Register by clicking here.
Are you an individual who wants to make a difference in your community, church or school?  Economic and Community Development projects are most likely to be successful when initiated and supported by citizens at the grassroots. The Buchanan County Economic Development Commission’s (BCEDC) Leadership Development Program that will teach the skills needed to encourage and support community involvement by individuals who want to make a difference in their communities.
How can I participate?  Businesses, municipalities, and organizations can benefit by sponsoring employees. Graduates will be more productive and effective employees. Individuals can apply the skills learned to move concepts from the “good idea” stage, to the “great project completed” stage.

A major objective of the Program is to create stronger community bonds so each meeting will be held in a different Buchanan County community.  The program will end with an awards banquet and a celebration of county-wide economic development activities. Cost of the program is $150 per person.  Class size is limited to 24 participants.
Some of the topics to be covered in the program include: Recruiting and managing volunteers; project management; group dynamics and decision making and meeting facilitation. 
Registrations are due by Monday, February 9.  Click here to register. To learn more about the Buchanan County Leadership Program, contact BCEDC Director George Lake. or call 319-334-7497

Starting a New Business? Here’s What You
Can and Can’t Deduct
By: Cameron McCool 
If you’re planning to use your personal savings to launch a new business, you’ll be happy to hear that many of the costs you’ll incur are tax deductible. In this article, we’ll go through what you can and can’t deduct during the startup phase of a business, to help you spend strategically and get a better return come tax time.
The business startup phase
Business startup expenses are categorized differently from standard business expenses. Distinguishing between the two depends on when the cost is incurred. In the eyes of the IRS, you are technically in “startup phase” until you open up your doors for business, or until you start earning income from the business—whichever comes first. Your costs during this period are categorized as startup costs.
Once you have launched or made your first sale, costs are categorized as business expenses.
However, not everything can be claimed as a startup expense during the startup phase. First, we’ll look at what you cannot deduct, and move on the what you will be able to deduct during the startup phase of your business.
Here’s what you can’t deduct: 
There is a limit to the amount of startup costs that can be deducted in the first year of business. If you incur over $50,000 in startup costs, your available first year deductions will be lowered by the amount that you exceed $50,000. For example, if you incur $52,000 in startup costs, you’ll only be able to deduct $3,000 in the first year of business ($5,000 minus the amount you exceeded $50,000).
After your first year, you can amortize the remaining costs over the following 15 years. Following this logic, if you exceed $55,000 in startup costs, you won’t be able to deduct any costs in the first year, and instead you’ll need to amortize all of your startup costs.

Here’s what you can deduct during the startup phase:
The total amount of costs incurred while starting your business dictates the amount you can deduct as startup costs. If your startup expenses stay under $50,000, then you can deduct $5,000 in startup costs during your first year of business.
Deductible expenses during the startup phase fall into two different categories, related to research and the actual formation of the business. Let’s take a look at the specific types of startup expenses that can be claimed:

Investigating the creation or acquisition of an active trade or business: Certain research costs can be deducted as startup expenses. These include:
  • Surveying markets
  • Product analysis
  • Visiting potential business locations
 The cost of getting a business ready to run: You can also claim the following expenses as part of the set-up phase:
  • Employee training and wages
  • Consultant fees
  • Travel costs
  • Incorporation or organization fees
What can I deduct if my business never launches?
Let’s say you put all of this time and money into getting your business ready to run, and something unexpected derails your plans. While you can’t get that time back, you can get some of your money back in the form of tax breaks.
Even if your business never launches, you may still be able to deduct the set-up costs incurred. This will depend on how specific your research was; for example, you can deduct personal expenses incurred while researching the creation or acquisition of a specific business on Form 1040 (Schedule A) under “miscellaneous expenses.”
But, if you conduct general research without having a specific business in mind and your research doesn’t lead anywhere, you won’t be able to deduct those investigation costs.
Whether you invested a lot or a little into your new business, being able to deduct or amortize the costs will reduce the impact on your own financial health. Having a clear understanding of what you can and can’t deduct while setting up a new business prepares you to make smart choices with both your taxes and your startup costs.

By Cameron McCool: Cameron McCool is the Content Manager at Bench, the online bookkeeping service that pairs you with a dedicated accountant and simple, elegant software to do your bookkeeping for you. He posts business and lifestyle advice for busy entrepreneurs on the Bench Blog.


UNI & Iowa State Climb in the Polls

Courtesy of KWWL TV - The University of Northern Iowa Panthers and Iowa State University Cyclones both jumped four spots in the latest Associated Press men's basketball poll, released Monday, Feb. 2.

Wins against Southern Illinois and Wichita State propelled the Panthers from #18 last week to #14 this week. The Shockers fell from #12 last week to #16 this week.

The Cyclones notched victories against Texas and TCU to jump from #15 to #11.

The Panthers travel to Indiana State on Tuesday and host Drake on Saturday.

Iowa State is at Kansas tonight/Monday and hosts Texas Tech on Saturday.

Excuse the sports distraction. Getting closer the NCAA tourney and life in Iowa is getting interesting! ...says the alum from UNI & ISU!

George Lake

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The Buchanan County Economic Development Commission (BCEDC)
P.O. Box 109
Independence, IA  50644

Street address: 112 1st St. East, Independence,  IA  50644

Contact: George Lake, Executive Director

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