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Deal gives tech firm housing incentives


WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) – Wausau will use a successful homebuyers assistance program as one incentive to help a Massachusetts technology firm grow its business in the city.

The City Council approved a developer's agreement Tuesday night that provides up to $285,000 in city funded incentives for Collaborative Consulting. The total development package, including state job training tax credits, equals $2.7 million.

The company began training 12 employees earlier this month at its software development and testing center in the downtown Dudley Tower. The five-year development agreement calls for Collaborative to create and retain 200 jobs.

The Collaborative package includes two housing incentives. One is a $10,000 grant that Collaborative can split to help 10 employees buy a home in the city's downtown. The other incentive provides 10 employees with up to $4,000 each in low-interest, deferred loans that will help them make a down payment on a home in the city.

Employees could qualify for both incentives, said Wausau community development director Ann Werth.

“That increases our population and the number of property taxpayers that live here than in the suburbs,” alderwoman Lisa Rasmussen said in speaking in favor of the agreement.

The downpayment assistance program has helped 25 Kolbe and Kolbe employees settle in the city since the company began offering the benefit in 1993, said human resources manager Vicki Held. The window-and-door maker will pay $1,000 toward the down payment for employees who qualify; employees must contribute $500.

“We look it as a benefit to help them get into a home,” Held said in a phone interview Tuesday.