The views of the authors on this website are not neccessarily the views of the website. All comments are solely the responsibility of those who write them.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Enterprise zone businesses add jobs

SALISBURY -- Amidst waves of layoffs and downsizing in recent years, businesses throughout Wicomico County's enterprise zone have been hiring and investing capital in the regional economy.
As part of the program that gives property tax breaks in exchange for investment and job growth, businesses within enterprise zones have continued to grow the area workforce during years when many other businesses were forced to close their doors.
"With respect to Wicomico County, we have had an investment of $25.3 million in the Salisbury enterprise zone and $0.8 million in Fruitland," said Mark Vulcan, program manager of tax incentives for the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. "With respect to the total number of jobs certified, there have been 704 in Salisbury, and in Fruitland we have six."
That investment and the jobs created are from some of the 44 businesses DBED has been monitoring for years.
Within the last year, Vulcan said Salisbury has reported 60 new jobs, while Fruitland hasn't reported any.
Delmarva Power Sports received its enterprise zone status in 2006, and co-owner Paula Vane said the tax benefit helped her and her husband expand their building and hire four additional employees.
In addition to its direct benefit, Vane says the tax break the business receives as a result of the enterprise zone status has helped them in unintended ways.
"It was a good business decision to save money," Vane said. "When real estate prices inflated and taxes went up a lot, it helped us through that period."
Other businesses receiving enterprise zone benefits include the Holiday Inn, MaTech, United Parcel Service, Rent-A-Man, Teltronic and the Bank of Delmarva.
Individual businesses apply to either the Fruitland or Salisbury city councils seeking the property tax break that comes with qualifying as an enterprise zone business. To qualify, they have to make a certain amount of capital investment in their businesses or hire a certain number of employees, or both. Once the city approves the new status, the benefits also must be approved by the Wicomico County Council.
Among the community investment a business must make to be in an enterprise zone is a minimum of $50,000 in capital improvements or adding a minimum of two jobs.
The benefits last for 10 years and the city gets reimbursed by the state for half of the amount it gives to enterprise zone businesses in the form of property tax breaks.
Every decade, the city councils look at where the enterprise zone sits and determine what it will encompass for the next 10 years.
As of now, the Salisbury enterprise zone is scattered throughout north and south Salisbury and encompasses Peninsula Regional Medical Center, the Northwood Industrial Park and a large chunk of the Route 13 business corridor.
The Salisbury enterprise zone covers 3,861 acres, while the Fruitland zone contains 133 acres. Other enterprise zones on the Eastern Shore include one with 383 acres in Pocomoke City, a 1,134-acre zone in Berlin, a 1,297-acre zone in Princess Anne and a 499-acre zone in Crisfield.
While enterprise zones are a beneficial piece of the puzzle to attracting businesses and spurring those businesses to invest in people and capital, they are not the only factors in getting a business into Wicomico County.
David Ryan, executive director of Salisbury-Wicomico Economic Development, monitors the enterprise zones in Wicomico and said while they do play a role in where businesses locate, they aren't the only factor.
"The enterprise zone is not the end all of incentives," Ryan said. "I don't think anyone is going to locate here just because there is an enterprise zone or won't leave just because we don't have an enterprise zone, but for those businesses you are trying to attract, it does provide an added incentive and allows us to be competitive with other counties and regions."

No comments: