Magnet may apply for enterprise zone in Cape County

Monday, October 4, 2010

Cape Girardeau Area Magnet is looking at a new economic development tool to help attract businesses to the area.

Economic development leaders are considering the formation of an enhanced enterprise zone in Cape Girardeau County to offer tax incentives for qualifying companies locating in parts of Cape Girardeau and Jackson, said Mitch Robinson, Magnet executive director.

Carol Shoemaker of the Missouri Department of Economic Development will make a presentation on enhanced enterprise zones at 3:30 p.m. Thursday at the Osage Community Centre.

"It's still conceptual," said Robinson, who will be meeting with city leaders in Cape Girardeau and Jackson as well as the county commission in the next few weeks.

Establishing an enhanced enterprise zone requires, among other things, setting up a seven-member board to oversee the zone, holding a public hearing and submitting an application to the Missouri Department of Economic Development.

The zone boundaries and the specific amount of property tax abatement are still being determined. The minimum amount of property tax abatement offered in enhanced enterprise zones is 50 percent over 10 years.

"Some communities have a tiered system, where the more jobs a company brings and the bigger the investment they make, the more the abatement they receive," Robinson said.

An enhanced enterprise zone also could also help secure state economic development incentives for businesses interested in locating within it.

"The state always wants to see the local community have some skin in the game," Robinson said. "They want to see a community providing an incentive for the project rather than just strictly the state."

Areas qualifying as enhanced enterprise zones must meet certain unemployment and poverty level guidelines.

"There are certain sections of the county and all the cities that have worse economic conditions and would meet the program. It will be a very odd-shaped map because of that," Robinson said.

Businesses not eligible to receive tax benefits from the zone include gambling, retail, education and religious establishments.

Missouri has more than 80 enhanced enterprise zones. All of Scott County was approved as an enhanced enterprise zone in March by the Missouri Department of Economic Development. All of Stoddard County has been an enhanced enterprise zone since 2008. Perry and Bollinger counties do not have enhanced enterprise zones.

mmiller@semissourian.com

388-3646

Pertinent address:

1625 N. Kingshighway, Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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