The city of Independence is drawing up a new economic development policy, with the idea of making it simpler for developers to know the limits of the various incentives the city is willing to agree to. Also, the city wants a cap – probably 20 percent of a project’s overall cost – on the assistance it would consider for a new or expanding business.

“The idea is that we’re trying to get a policy,” Assistant City Manager Mark Randall said. The 20 percent cap, as Randall outlined it, would be roughly in line with other communities.

One idea is to help local schools by trimming tax abatements, meaning schools get some revenue from a new project right away instead of waiting years for incentives to run their course.

Also, the city would favor jobs starting at 120 percent of the county’s median wage. That works out to about $65,000 a year. That sounds like office jobs.

“We could use more office jobs in this community, definitely,” said Tom Lesnak, president and CEO of the Independence Chamber of Commerce and president of the Independence Council for Economic Development.

The policy is expected to go to the City Council at some point for final approval.

“It’s going to be a great tool for marketing,” Lesnak said.

Business honors

The Independence Council for Economic Development handed out its annual awards the other day. Those fall into seven categories:

• Major Employer of the Year – Barbour Concrete. “This company has long been involved in the Independence community,” Sonci Bleckinger of Central Bank of the Midwest said in making the presentation.

• Small Business of the Year – Alissa's Flowers, Fashions and Interiors.

• Manufacturer of the Year – Post Press Specialties, a commercial bindery in the caves with more than 100 employees.

• Non-Profit of the Year – CAPA, or the Child Abuse Prevention Association.

• Emerging Business of the Year – Under the Awning, which has items connected with charities.

• Philanthropic Business of the Year – TruckMovers, with 150 employees. Among its activities last year was a toy-and-food drive for the Community Services League. It also has a charitable foundation.

• Hospitality Business of the Year – Albonee Country Inn & Vineyards, which opened as a bed and breakfast in 2002 and a winery in 2009.

Quick hits

The Benton House of Blue Springs has won a Pinnacle Quality Insight Customer Experience Award. Pinnacle conducts phone surveys to assess satisfaction with care providers, and its award goes to those in the top 15 percent. Benton House of Blue Springs has assisted living and memory care. … The third-annual citywide cleanup in coming up in Independence in a couple months – with a twist. The event has been about gathering lots of volunteers for a day to hit key spots around town with more than their share of litter. Now organizers want to more deeply involve businesses year-round. “This year we want businesses in the community to adopt their own areas,” said the EDC’s Tom Lesnak. It’s something to think about. Details coming – stay tuned.

Jeff Fox is the editor of The Examiner. Reach him at 816-350-6365 or He’s on Twitter at @FoxEJC.