The board of directors for Etna Township's joint economic-development zone began the process June 19 for the distribution of funds collected from the JEDZ 1 income tax in 2007.

The board of directors for Etna Township's joint economic-development zone began the process June 19 for the distribution of funds collected from the JEDZ 1 income tax in 2007.

According to Newark tax administrator Sue Bixler, the money will be available to be disbursed after an audit is complete in September or October.

The JEDZ 1 agreement was reached in 2005 for the city of Newark to collect for Etna Township an income tax from the 220-acre Etna Corporate Park. Townships are prohibited from collecting an income tax.

The money is to be split among the township, Newark, the Southwest Licking Local School District, the Career and Technology Education Centers (C-TEC) and the county.

The $100, 984.93 collected in 2007 will be distributed as follows: 30 percent to both Etna Township and SWL ($30,295.48 each), 20 percent to the JEDZ 1 improvement fund ($20,196.99), 10 percent to the city of Newark ($10,098.49) plus another 4.5 percent for administration ($4,544.32), 5 percent to Licking County ($5,049.25) and 0.5 percent to C-TEC ($504.92).

During the meeting, chairman Stephen Fowler, Newark's economic-development director, asked his board to set up an account for the JEDZ 1 improvement fund, which the JEDZ board likely would manage. The board tabled the request until it can determine how the account will be managed.

The board approved the reimbursement of $8,689 to Newark for the JEDZ startup costs.

"I call it a wash," Bixler said. "It's going to cover the costs to the city."

Fowler, who set the agenda for the meeting, called it "a long-overdue reimbursement."

A point of concern for all in attendance was the Aug. 5 vote for JEDZ 2, another agreement to collect a 1.75-percent income tax -- the same tax amount as the current JEDZ 1.

Voters approved the JEDZ 1 and must approve the JEDZ 2.

The proposed JEDZ 2 would establish an income tax on a 90-acre plot south of the Etna Corporate Park that could be developed.

Paul George, the board's elected treasurer and an Etna Township trustee, said he is hopeful about the vote, based on the results from the JEDZ 1, which is projected to raise more than $17-million over 30 years.

"We hope the election goes the same way," George said.

The new agreement would involve the disbursement of funds in a similar way: 30 percent to Etna Township, 28 percent to SWL schools, 4 percent to Licking County, 1 percent to C-TEC, 4 percent to the West Licking Joint Fire District, 8 percent to Newark and another 5 percent to Newark for administration.

The remainder would go into the infrastructure fund, which would reimburse the developer for improvements made to the property.

The board also discussed the way the JEDZ 2 would be managed.

Fowler said management would be the same as with the JEDZ 1 but would have to act as a separate entity from the JEDZ 1 board. He said two separate boards would be required to meet at different times. The two boards would be permitted to consist of the same members, though.

"We have to keep it separate, logistically," Fowler said.

Stephen Fowler