Powell's Community Improvement Corporation has received the financial support from city council it's been waiting for.

Powell's Community Improvement Corporation has received the financial support from city council it's been waiting for.

The CIC is a new nonprofit city organization created to provide development incentives that will attract new businesses, which will increase tax revenue to the city.

CIC board members, all volunteers, have been reluctant to enter into incentive agreements with businesses because the CIC lacked funds to honor the agreements.

CIC members are considering incentive contracts with a financial services company and a company that creates and hosts websites. Both moved to the city with the understanding that they would receive a relocation grant-loan from the CIC.

At its Aug. 17 meeting, council approved $20,000 for the CIC. The money will fund the two incentive agreements, totaling $16,000, and some CIC administrative costs, such as liability insurance for the CIC board members.

The funds will reimburse the business owners for expenses related to relocating to Powell. They must submit invoices of the expenses to be reimbursed. The amount allotted each is $8,000.

The $20,000 was not planned for in the 2010 budget. The amount came from council's contingency fund, which received $100,000 for 2010. It is used for miscellaneous expenses that might arise and weren't planned for in the budget.

City finance director Debra Miller has said she would put a CIC fund in the city's budget book so that council could monitor its finances. The money would go to a CIC bank account and the CIC board would write the checks. All of the CIC transactions will be seen on the city's financial reports.

Council member Tom Counts asked if council was approving the incentive contracts by approving the funding.

Council member Richard Cline said he would like to see council "in the information loop, not on the decision-making loop" because he doesn't want "the CIC to feel handcuffed and required to hold off taking action waiting on city council."

Mayor Art Schultz said council knows the type of incentive the CIC is offering.

At previous meetings, council members have discussed but never voted on whether they want to approve individual incentive agreements.

In other business, council approved spending $20,000 from the general fund for design services related to an energy-efficiency project.

The project includes installing a 77-kilowatt solar electric system on the roof of the Hall Street municipal building that is expected to produce half the electricity used in the building.

It also includes energy-saving upgrades such as the installation of LED and light sensors on city property, plus energy-efficient improvements to the parks and rec facility in Adventure Park.

The project won an $821,861 federal energy efficiency grant through the Ohio Department of Development.

The city is contributing about $40,000 to the project, plus in-kind contributions such as staff hours, Miller said.

The project is expected to go to bid in December, with installation beginning in early spring.