Original EEZ map scrapped; new proposal delayed by state

The original map plan to establish an Enhanced Enterprise Zone (EEZ) in Callaway County has been scrapped, and a 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 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.

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. He said the FADC wants to help existing businesses qualify for EEZ tax breaks, not just new start-up businesses in Callaway County.

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.

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.

Businesses can receive state income tax credits for up to five years. Companies must create at least two jobs providing health insurance and invest at least $100,000 in new buildings or equipment for new businesses or $1 million into replacement equipment or real estate in existing businesses.

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