The City of Garfield applied in October, 2003 to the MN Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) for the Job Opportunity Building Zone (JOBZ) program, which provides certain tax exemptions for qualified businesses in designated parcels. Since the city did not have land available for this program, we had discussions with LaGrande Township on the southern edge of city limits. The city applied to DEED to include a 74 acre parcel of land in LaGrande Township that is privately owned. This parcel would be designated for tax incentives under JOBZ, with the approval of the landowner and township, with the understanding the city could “swap” acres for other parcels if existing businesses wished to expand using JOBZ. The city received approval and has been working in partnership with West Central Initiative, the regional zone administrator, and the Alexandria Area Economic Development Commission (AAEDC), the city’s subzone administrator.
The city was approached by GCI for a planned expansion that would take approximately two acres out of the 74 acre parcel. Prior to approving this, the city needed to adopt a business subsidy policy. GCI’s current facility does not qualify for tax breaks under JOBZ, but their expansion would. The city adopted a business subsidy policy and subsequently has approved a business subsidy agreement with GCI. The tax exemptions under JOBZ include sales tax, property tax and income tax to owners or investors.
For more information about JOBZ, go to www.wcif.org and click on the JOBZ logo.