Agenda Item #

Columbus Consolidated Government

Council Meeting

12/11/2018

Agenda Report #


TO: Mayor and Council

SUBJECT: Agenda Report - Readoption of the Enterprise Zone

INITIATED BY: Planning Department



Recommendation: Approve the attached ordinance to readopt the existing boundaries of the city's Enterprise Zone, known as the "Columbus Business Development Center" for another ten-year period.

Background: In 1997, the Georgia legislature adopted the “Enterprise Zone Employment Act,” which is to encourage revitalization in areas within the city that are suffering from disinvestment, underdevelopment, and economic decline. To qualify as an Enterprise Zone, the area must demonstrate three of the following five criteria: pervasive poverty, unemployment, general distress, underdevelopment, and general blight. To meet these criteria, evidence must come from the following: census and state unemployment data; condition of structures and the infrastructure; and the economy. In order to encourage businesses to locate or expand in the Enterprise Zone, incentives in the form of tax credits exemptions and waivers of certain local fees are offered as allowed under the Act. These incentives do not include school district property taxes or property taxes imposed for general obligation debt. The legislature also established that the area designated as an Enterprise Zone should remain in existence for ten years from the first day of the calendar year immediately following its designation as an Enterprise Zone.

On April 7, 1998, Council adopted the original Enterprise Zone and named it the "Columbus Business Development Center". Since that time the Enterprise Zone was expanded in 2000 to allow residential uses as established by state law, and again in 2001 to expand the boundaries to include the East Wynnton/Lawyers Lane area. It was readopted in 2008 and expanded in 2014 to include the Liberty District. State law mandates that an Enterprise Zone may only be in existence for a period of ten (10) years. Unless readopted by the local government, the Enterprise Zone itself would expire.

Analysis: The existing Enterprise Zone is scheduled to expire on January 1, 2009. The Planning Department is working to provide Council with a detailed report on the existing Enterprise Zone, including an analysis of the future needs for this zone. Due to the shortness of time left in this calendar year, the Planning Department is recommending that the existing Enterprise Zone and its boundaries, be readopted for another ten (10) year period. Readopting the existing Enterprise Zone will provide the continuation of this economic project, while allowing staff to complete its analysis of the zone and any recommendations for future improvements.

Financial Considerations: Upon approval by the Council, those businesses that are engaged primarily in manufacturing, warehousing and distribution, processing, telecommunications, tourism, research and development industries; and new residential construction, residential habilitation, or other rehabilitation of existing structures in the enterprise zone would be exempt from state and local ad valorem property taxes for a period of ten years. This exemption would be transferable to another owner within that ten-year period. The exemption would be based upon the following schedule:
A full description of the program is attached an an exhibit to the ordinance.

Projected Annual Fiscal Impact Statement:

Legal Considerations: The zone will stay in effect for a minimum of ten (10) years. Developments that occur in the tenth year are still eligible for the full ten-year exemption in taxes, according to the above schedule.

Recommendations/ Actions: Approve the attached ordinance to readopt the existing boundaries of the city's Enterprise Zone, known as the "Columbus Business Development Center"

Ordinance.pdfOrdinance.pdfExhibit A.pdfExhibit A.pdf

2018 Report.docx2018 Report.docx