After hearing many voices of opposition raised at a public meeting Thursday afternoon, Callaway County Presiding Commissioner Gary Jungermann vowed no action will be taken until next year on a proposed enhanced enterprise zone (EEZ) that covers about 20 percent of the county.
"We need more information. We are going to have at least one public hearing and maybe two. We as a commission are not pushing this thing through. We are going to take our time. We don't want to make a rash decision. We want to make the right decision that is best for all of Callaway County. I guarantee no action will be taken until after the first of the year," Jungermann said.
Jungermann added that before he would vote yes on the proposal he wants a letter sent from the school boards of the affected areas - the North Callaway School Board of Education and the Fulton School Board of Education - saying they endorse the EEZ proposal. "I had decided to require this before this meeting today," Jungermann said.
Jungermann said the city of Fulton and the village of Kingdom City already have endorsed the measure.
The meeting Thursday afternoon attracted many Callaway County residents who expressed opposition to the plan, fearing it would damage their property values to have the area declared blighted.
The informational meeting was organized by Bruce Hackmann, president of the Fulton Area Development Corporation.
Hackmann pleaded with the crowd to listen with an open mind to the explanation of the program by Grey Jackson of the Missouri Department of Economic Development, which administers the statewide tax credit program designed to attract new or expanding industries.
Jackson assured the people in the audience that the blighted designation would not lower their property values and would not affect their property rights.