You are on page 1of 2

December 24, 2013 Etna Township Board of Trustees 81 Liberty Street Etna, Ohio 43018 - 0188 Gentlemen: We appreciate

your leadership and service on the Etna Township Board of Trustees (the "Trustees") and each of your continued efforts in growing economic development in Etna Township and Licking County. Like the Trustees, we are committed to growing the business community and available resources in Etna Township and the surrounding areas. We understand that is an involved, multi-faceted process; it is our sincere desire to partner with the Trustees on issues pertaining to how we may best grow our local business community, and create job opportunities and additional resources within our community. It is our understanding that the Trustees are currently considering forming a Joint Economic Development District ("JEDD"), or a Joint Economic Development Zone (JEDZ) over approximately 65 properties south of Refugee Road to US 40 and the commercial/industrial corridor along the Ohio 310 and Interstate 70 interchange. The proposed JEDD would include the existing Etna Corporate Park, as well as various retail businesses, restaurants, and service stations. This letter has been drafted in conjunction with a number of businesses and property owners opposed to the current proposal to establish a JEDD or JEDZ in this fashion. Many of the parties represented by this document became aware of the proposal only recently and have not been contacted by the Trustees, Etna Townships Economic Development committee, or any other Township representative. It is our understanding that no additional services will be provided by the City of Reynoldsburg or by Etna Township and that the purported use of the funds is, principally, roadwork projects. We have significant concerns about the scope of contemplated roadwork projects for which the JEDD/JEDZ is intended to remedy, as most of them have not been approved by the Ohio Department of Transportation. We also believe that the JEDD/JEDZ provides a long-term and disproportionate solution to theoretical short-term needs.

Most importantly, we are concerned that imposition of an income tax will create a significant deterrent to new businesses considering locating or expanding in Etna Township. It is a clear deterrent to expansion for those companies currently doing business within the Township. The JEDD/JEDZ proposal would impose taxes on existing businesses and those businesses employees. Many of these companies located in Etna Township made significant investments in not only their facilities, but in infrastructure costs. This proposed tax will generate no additional or expanded services to these businesses. A number of the businesses and property owners with which we have spoken indicated, in fact, that the proposed roadwork (including the addition of limited additional lanes as part of the SR310/I-70 bridge project) was premature and perhaps unnecessary and/or ineffective. This further underscores the absence of meaningful value to those upon whom the burden of this tax will fall. Some of these businesses were awarded state and local tax incentives based on locating or expanding in Etna Township, versus other locations in Ohio or in other states. Etna Township was involved in, and/or aware of, those negotiations. Imposing a JEDD tax after the negotiation process is not only unfair to those firms, but it also presents an unfavorable impression of Etna Township's economic development negotiations. As you each have been advised previously, the Licking County Chamber of Commerce has taken a formal position in opposition to the proposed imposition of a JEDD/JEDZ particularly, its imposition over existing, operating businesses. The business and property owners that have joined in the signing of this letter, likewise, strongly oppose the currently proposed JEDD/JEDZ. We believe it will discourage economic development in Etna Township and that it represents a long-term solution to theoretical short-term needs. Most particularly, we feel strongly that existing businesses and the property they own should be excluded from the JEDD/JEDZ. As noted in the opening of this letter, we are hopeful that the Board of Trustees and the business community can work collaboratively and progressively to develop strategies that enhance the economic environment of Etna Township. Imposition of an income tax, after the fact, is counter to such strategies. We welcome the opportunity to engage in meaningful, productive dialogue with respect to our communitys future. Thank you for your consideration. Sincerely,

Cheri L. Hottinger President and CEO Licking County Chamber of Commerce