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IDA discusses possible UTEP changes

The Madison County Industrial Agency Board met Thursday Aug. 20 for their regular meeting. The majority of the board's discussion surrounded the possibility of modifying the current Uniform Tax Exemption Policy or the UTEP that outlines benefits and incentives for new businesses that come to the county.

A draft of the "new language" that is in a preliminary stage covers the general parameters of the IDA's position in establishing a UTEP that will be adopted and recognized as the standard for future financial assistance of more than $100,000 to any county project.

The initial UTEP policy was adopted in 1995, re-adopted again in 1999 and is now pending re-adoption once again pursuant to a resolution that must be passed by the IDA board during 2009. Although the adoption of the 2009 UTEP is in its preliminary stage, IDA Executive Director Kipp Hicks opened the floor for discussion among the five board members in attendance and IDA chairman and town of Smithfield Supervisor Richard Bargabos.

Hicks said the board should "expect anticipated appropriations before county submission," so that a public hearing could be held in conjunction with the board's decision.

"We need to consider everyone that this will be affecting," Hicks said.

Hicks explained that once a business or new construction is locked in to a UTEP they continue to exercise the use of their benefits. For example, a new-construction project could enjoy a zero percent applicable pilot percentage for the first five years with an increase over the next 15 years.

The possibilities to change the policy for new incentives and new-construction benefits could retain local graduates that grew up in the county.

The board agreed that graduates could grow their own business here, rather than relocating out of state.

Chairman Bargabos said that the policy could entail some new marketing to attract new businesses and new construction to the county.

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