Loss of JEDZ could be costly - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Loss of JEDZ could be costly

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Toledo's economic development director will lobby lawmakers, Tuesday, to make a change to a bill that could end up costing the city a million dollars a year.

Toledo uses an economic development tool called the Joint Economic Development Zone (JEDZ) to help businesses create jobs.  But that tools may no longer be allowed by state law.

Last week, Toledo sold a 37-acre plot of land in Monclova Township to a Maumee furniture maker.

That company will invest $10-million in a production facility.

Since Maumee, Toledo and Monclova Township are linked by a JEDZ,  each will benefit.

Township Trustee Chuck Hoecherl says, "We share the income tax on that with Maumee and Toledo;  a third, a third, a third."

Monclova's third will help the township maintain the infrastructure of the zone.

Last year, JEDZ raised $330,000 in revenue for Monclova.

Toledo has 7 JEDZs that earn $960,000.

Another development zone surrounds Toledo Express Airport could generate hundreds of thousands of dollars, as well.

Toledo City Councilman Rob Ludeman (R) says the JEDZ are vital because they "help with regional cooperation and I think that's how you grow an area."

But Ludeman is upset state lawmakers want to end JEDZ.

Towns are supposed to take the income generated by the JEDZ and re-invest it back into economic development.  But some towns, especially near Columbus, are taking that tax money and spending it on city services.

So the Ohio House of Representatives has approved a bill ending economic development zones at the end of 2014.

Toledo's position is that will effectively stifle economic development in the future and cause problems for towns using the JEDZ the right way right now.

Matt Sapara, Toledo economic development director says, "What happens to the infrastructure out there?  Who is charged with taking care of it if you don't have the resources from an income perspective to do things that need to be done."

Late Monday, Sapara received an updated version of the bill.

Tuesday, he will lobby lawmakers in Columbus to amend the bill to allow these joint economic development zones in areas 50-miles around a seaport  or airport.

That would save Toledo and it's development partners.

Councilman Rob Ludeman has the same language in a resolution council will likely pass, Tuesday.

If there are no changes, Toledo could lose a million dollars a year in revenue and other local governments could lose hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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