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03.25.2015 - Enterprise Zone Participants Create 289 Jobs
By Nick Sabo

Local companies who pledged to create new jobs in exchange for a break on real estate taxes are for the most part at or above their stated goals.

Businesses granted tax abatements on new real estate through the county's enterprise zone program have created 289 new jobs since 2006, according to information presented at the county's tax incentive review council. The council reviews the progress of businesses on goals set in their EZ agreements.

The companies with EZ agreements promised to create a total of 110 new jobs. The EZs grant tax abatements for 10 years on new real estate. Existing companies that are planning to add on, or companies that wish to locate to the area and build, can apply for an abatement through the EZ program.

There are currently 19 active EZ agreements in Holmes County.

The EZ agreements usually give three years to meet job goals. The 289 jobs were created by 17 companies; the two companies who have not reported new jobs are still within the three-year time frame.

Only one EZ agreement, with Guggisberg Cheese and Quattro G, is behind job creation goals. Leininger said the company is behind because it has had trouble getting new equipment that is on order from France, holding up the expansion project for which the EZ was granted.

The numbers show that Holmes County companies are growing faster than the local workforce can respond, Leininger said.

“The available workforce is having trouble keeping pace,” Leininger said. “The issue appears to be finding good employees. There are people in Holmes County with the good work ethic employers are looking for, and it's just a matter of connecting people with the job.”

To date, the savings to local companies on new taxes has been $421,131. The abatements mean that local entities, such as schools and townships, are only getting a percentage of what they would without the abatement. Once the term of the abatement expires, however, the company is taxed at the full value of the real estate.

Published: March 26, 2015 New Article ID: 2015703269999

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