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Matt Brooke served from 1991-2013 in the U.S. Army, retiring as lieutenant colonel. In December 2018, he became one of the first two recipients for Clinton County’s Home Base Iowa (HBI) program. “I already lived in Clinton and had been the city administrator for the City of Clinton for a year. The state incentive was not available at that time, nor were the City of Clinton’s incentives,” Mr. Brooke said. “I personally think it is a tremendous program, and Clinton has had more than 30 veterans sign up since January 2019.” The statewide HBI program helps veterans, military personnel, and their family members find opportunities and resources in the state. About three-fourths of Iowa’s 99 counties now are onboard along with 118 home-based communities such as Clinton and Davenport, which give incentives, discounts and provide other resources to entice veterans to the state that values and honors their service. Scott County became a partner with HBI in July 2021 and was designated a Home Base Iowa Community. The partnership not only involves Scott County but also the City of Davenport, area employers, and the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce, which administers the program. “When we recruit a transitioning veteran to our area, it improves our economy and tax base,” said Jacqueline Friemel, veteran services representative with IowaWORKS. “When a veteran utilizes HBI, we work with them one-on-one and place them with businesses that know where they are coming from.” About 200,000 people transition out of the military every year, and Iowa can offer them robust incentive programs to bring them to the state to work and raise a family, said Andy Sokolovich, interim president of the Clinton Regional Development Corporation (CRDC). “I am a veteran, and you don’t always get that hometown feeling you are looking for,” he said. “We have a welcoming committee and help them see what amenities are available.” HBI offers a website that allows veterans and spouses to post their resume. A career navigator will reach out to gather even more information and connect them to resources at IowaWORKS centers. Through www.homebaseiowa.gov, businesses create their own profiles and actively search those resumes. More than 2,300 businesses in the state have committed to hiring veterans, said Jathan Chicoine, HBI program manager for State and Strategic Initiatives. The Quad Cities Chamber created an in-house talent team to help grow and develop the region’s pipeline to build a strong workforce, states Emily Codling, the chamber’s new talent manager. “Home Base Iowa is part of that strategy. Veterans provide great skills and bring great worth ethic, work well with others, and have integrity and loyalty,” she said. “For 2022, the chamber and the other HBI partners are hoping to expand the incentive program into other cities and throughout Scott County.” Here are a few of the incentives offered in the Quad Cities region to veterans: Clinton County and Clinton:
- $1,500 reimbursement for a home bought in the county. “We don’t care where you work either, we just want you to live in the county,” said Mr. Sokolovich.
- $275 per diem for veterans who visit the area and stay in a hotel to visit businesses.
- Waiver of garbage, recycling and yard waste fees for one year in Clinton, along with $250 sewer credit upon moving in.
- To date, Clinton County’s HBI has attracted 55 individuals to the communities in the past few years. Collectively, the veterans have purchased $6.3 million of homes, which has resulted in $1,246,500 in added property taxes.
- Waiving family Fitness Center membership and family Aquatic Center membership fees for up to 12 months.
- Qualifying veterans constructing their own home will have up to $1,000 of their building permit fee waived.
- Any qualifying veteran doing a home improvement project to his/her residence within 18 months of residence will have up to $500 of their home improvement permit fee waived.
- $1,500 closing costs reimbursement from Scott County for veterans purchasing a home.
- $1,500 closing costs reimbursement from the City of Davenport for veterans living outside of the city who purchase a home in Davenport.
- $5,000 tax credit for veterans living outside the county who then relocate and purchase a home within Scott County. The credit is provided through the State of Iowa.
- Scott County reimburses qualifying veterans living outside the county $250, up to two times, for hotel and meal expenses while interviewing for a job at a business in the county.