Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

June 21, 2010

Howard County declared a recovery zone

Up to $9.6 million available for business development

Howard County commissioners passed a resolution Monday declaring the county a “recovery zone.”

The designation will make federal funds available for business development.

Companies will be eligible for up to $9.64 million to bring investment and jobs to Howard County.

Jeb Conrad, executive director of the Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance, said the funding, which is funneled through the state, must be used by the end of the year.

“This is an opportunity to add another tool to the tool box,” he said. “It is a potential funding mechanism to bring jobs and investment to the county.”

The bond amount must be repaid over 30 years, and there is a 45 percent tax break for those companies taking advantage of the recovery zone program, he said.

Conrad said the $9.64 million can be divided up among several different companies.

Commissioner Dave Trine said the county is not responsible to repay the bonds.

He said if a new or existing company was looking to locate or expand in the county, the funding could be made available.

“It is for areas of the state that have been hit hard by the recession,” Trine said. “It’s another tool we can use as an incentive.”

Conrad said only a few eligible counties have taken advantage of the program in Indiana. He said the revenue source is federal stimulus funds.

“By passing the resolution we have sped up the process,” he said, “instead of waiting for a company to request the funding.”

The process has the county applying for the funding for a specific company, according to Conrad. He said the bid advantage is the tax exemption, which allows the use for private investment in a community.

Conrad said no companies have requested the funding to date.

“It’s another tool or incentive we can use to attract a new business or the expansion of an existing business to the county in a competitive situation,” he said. “We have already started the process.”

• Ken de la Bastide can be reached at 765-454-8580 or via e-mail at ken.delabastide@kokomotribune.com

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