Thursday, March 21, 2013
The original map plan to establish an Enhanced Enterprise Zone EEZ in Callaway County has been scrapped and an new map will be redrawn as soon as possible, an organizer of the effort said Wednesday.
Bruce Hackmann, president of the Fulton Area Development Corporation (FADC), said the map proposed last November was based on the 2000 census and no longer is eligible to be submitted to the state for approval because 2010 census data must now be used.
Hackmann said the entire issue has been placed on hold because the Missouri Department of Economic Development does not have the 2010 federal census data loaded into its computers.
“We can’t do anything until the state has the latest census data. As of a few days ago, they still did not have the census data. They told us it would happen sometime during the first quarter of the year. We now are approaching the end of the quarter,” Hackmann said.
Hackmann said in redrawing the map, the FADC wants to include as much of existing major Callaway County firms as possible in order to make them eligible for EEZ tax breaks for creating additional jobs.
Hackmann said the FADC wants to help existing businesses qualify for EEZ tax breaks, not just new start-up businesses in Callaway County.
Hackmann said an attempt to redraw the EEZ boundaries in Callaway County will be made when the state acquires the census data.
“At that point,” Hackmann said, “we will determine if a map can be drawn the way we believe is necessary and then submit it to the board of directors of the Fulton Area Development Corporation to decide if they want to submit a new map to the Callaway County Commission, which must approve it before it is submitted to the state.”
Hackmann said the original map no longer is under consideration.
During a November 2012 meeting to discuss the original map, several rural Callaway County residents strongly objected to the law’s required designation of their land as “blighted.”
Hackmann has said the blighted designation is unfortunate phrasing in the EEZ law and he assured property owners it would not affect the value of their land and could not lead to condemnation.
“The EEZ designation,” Hackmann said, “in no way can lead to anyone seizing the land of any farmer. Nearly all of the business development will be in business parks already established or at existing businesses.”
An EEZ designation first must be approved by the Callaway County Commission and then by the Missouri Department of Economic Development.
The EEZ designation allows local governments to provide more economic incentives — including state income tax credits and abatement of 50 percent of local property taxes for 10 years — if new businesses create jobs or existing businesses expand in the designated zone.