Rocky Fork Enterprise

Mulling '501(c)(3)'

Gahanna CIC considers new tax status for more revenue

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Gahanna's Community Improvement Corp. might seek certification as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, with the goal to seek more revenue streams.

The CIC is a nonprofit organization formed under city legislation to promote "the industrial, economic, commercial and civic development of a community or area."

During an annual report to council March 25, CIC president Tom Kneeland said the 18-member organization could receive more revenue by being approved by the Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt charitable organization.

Jeff Kessler, treasurer, said the CIC received a $5,000 American Electric Power economic development grant in 2012.

He said the 501(c)(3) status would enable the CIC to accept donations from companies like AEP on an annual basis.

"We're looking at the advantages and pitfalls," Kessler said. "Right now we feel there are more advantages. We're looking at all the facts before we make that change."

Kneeland said the CIC's corporate goals for 2013 include generating significant revenue for business attraction, retention, growth and expansion initiatives and incentive and investment programs. Another goal is to functionally support and enhance city economic development and business growth efforts.

Gahanna development director Anthony Jones, a CIC trustee, said GahannaNet brought its first two customers: Kemba and IJUS.

GahannaNet is a public-private partnership, bringing tier 1 broadband and the latest technology advances to businesses.

Through a partnership with Bluemile and the city, the GahannaNet fiber-optic network provides local businesses access to nationwide communication carriers. The flexibility of the network allows each business to develop a plan to meet its needs.

Jones said Kemba signed up for five years, bringing the CIC $1,280 in revenue per quarter and $25,600 over five years.

Jones said GahannaNet also helped retain IJUS, a company that works with utilities.

"Our needs for space came with specific technology requirements that the Gahanna CIC and GahannaNet helped to provide," said Wil Schulze, IJUS president. "Their relationship and assistance ultimately led to our commitment to stay in Gahanna."

Jones said that deal retained 80 jobs in the city, and it's bringing $180 per quarter to the CIC and $2,160 over a contract term.

"These are the poster children to show the success of GahannaNet," he said.

Goals of the CIC technology committee are to expand GahannaNet services to include additional Gahanna vendors; increase the revenue stream to $25,000 annually; facilitate the expansion of the fiber-optic network, phase 2; and connect five new buildings to GahannaNet.

Kneeland said he's excited to see revenue coming in from GahannaNet.

"Those will grow," he said.

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