The Joint Economic Development Zone board on Nov. 9 approved reimbursement of more than $13,000 for two projects in Etna Township.
The JEDZ board voted 6-0 to approve $4,350 for stop signs installed at Refugee Road and Etna Parkway and $8,760 for a study of improvements planned for the state Route 310 interchange at Interstate 70. The study is being completed by Jobes Henderson and Associates of Newark.
John Carlisle, a JEDZ board member and Etna Township trustee, said the stop signs have improved safety at the intersection already.
"The crashes there have been reduced to almost nothing," he said.
The state Route 310 study was commissioned by Etna Township to find funding options for the township's portion of the project. The Ohio Department of Transportation is replacing and widening the bridge at the interchange of I-70 and Route 310 in 2015 at an estimated cost of $3 million and $3.5 million, respectively.
Extending five lanes with pedestrian and bicycle lanes on 310 north to Etna Township is expected to cost another $7.5 million.
Carlisle said Etna Township is applying for $6.5 million through the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission. The study will make suggestions on how Etna can fund the other $1 million needed.
The JEDZ is a part of a joint economic-development agreement in Licking County, which includes land in the Etna Corporate Park. It includes the ProLogis properties along U.S. Route 40.
Under the JEDZ, local governments such as townships that do not collect an income tax may enter agreements with jurisdictions that have income taxes, such as cities, and apply the tax to the designated areas. The Newark income-tax rate is 1.75 percent of wages and net profits on business.
The funds may be used for various purposes, including maintaining roads and other infrastructure at the site and distributing the income-tax revenues to the participating entities. The term of the agreement is 30 years.
Revenues from the JEDZ are distributed as follows: 20 percent to an improvements fund that pays for roadways and infrastructure at the JEDZ property; 30 percent to Etna Township; 30 percent to Southwest Licking schools; 10 percent to the city of Newark; 5 percent to Licking County; 4.5 percent to the Newark Income Tax Department for administering the JEDZ; and 0.5 percent to the Career and Technology Education Centers of Licking County.
Carlisle said the money approved for Etna Township came out of the infrastructure fund.
The board denied one other request from Licking County for $23,170.32, which equates to 75 percent of the money the county spent to add a turn lane on Etna Parkway at Heritage Drive.
The board voted 4-2 to deny the request, with Stuart Moynihan and Warren Weber favoring the reimbursement. Carlisle, Dick Knapp, Mark Schaff and Bob McKnight voted to deny the request.
Carlisle said he did not vote for the reimbursement because the county already receives a portion of JEDZ revenues, which could have paid for the turning lane.
The board tabled three other requests from Etna Township for paving on Refugee Road and Etna Parkway, which total $171,681. The board requested more information on the projects, Carlisle said.