Rent discount makes sense

Published 9:55 am Thursday, March 11, 2010

Would you rather have half of something or all of nothing?

That is essentially the question Ironton’s City Council will have to ask itself tonight when it considers an ordinance to continue renting commercial space to a handful of businesses at a reduced rate.

The proposal centers on renewing a plan that will reduce the rent for the businesses that occupy space on the first floor of the city center including Suzy Q’s Café, a Mary Kay office, Assist-2-Sell and Patrick Insurance.

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About a year ago council passed a law that gave tenants in good standing a 50 percent discount on rent that normally costs between $200 and $500 dollars depending on the size space inside the building that can accommodate between six and eight businesses.

This was a smart move then and still makes sense today.

Having a strong downtown with prospering businesses is far more important than making a few extra bucks in the short term.

These storefronts have often been empty or hosted many short-lived businesses. Keeping the rent low will help ensure these locations stay filled and contributing at least something to the city and to the tax base.

Raising the rent will almost certainly drive some of these businesses elsewhere and create more empty store fronts in downtown Ironton, something there are already too many of in the first place.

Many elected officials want to talk about being more “business friendly.” This is a chance for Ironton’s leaders to live up to those claims.