Licking County News

Etna Township

JEDD could help fund Route 310 roadwork

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Etna Township trustees want to establish a Joint Economic Development District on land north and south of Interstate 70 to help fund improvements to state Route 310 and local infrastructure.

The JEDD is a special cooperative tax and expenditure agreement that could be signed between Etna Township and the city of Reynoldsburg.

Under the JEDD, local governments such as townships that do not collect an income tax may enter into an agreement with jurisdictions that have income taxes, such as cities, and apply the tax to the designated areas.

Etna Township trustees agreed May 7 to spend up to $2,500 to hire attorneys Albers and Albers of Columbus to prepare documentation for the agreement.

The township's economic development committee also met May 7 and reviewed a timeline for the JEDD.

Gary Burkholder, a committee member and acting township zoning administrator, said the JEDD could include more than 60 properties in the Etna Corporate Parkway and land north and south of Interstate 70 on both sides of the interchange at state Route 310.

It includes both vacant and already developed properties.

Etna Township Trustee John Carlisle said the township could use revenue to pay back a portion of the funds the township needs for improvements to Route 310.

Etna Township is expected to receive $7,624,896 in federal funds to improve the entrance and exit ramps off I-70 at Route 310 and to extend the five lanes with pedestrian and bicycle markings from the 310 bridge over I-70 north into Etna Township.

The project will be done in conjunction with the state's $3.5 million replacement and widening of the bridge on Route 310 at I-70, which is slated to start in fiscal year 2016.

Etna's portion of the funding for the project is $2.6 million, Carlisle said.

Carlisle said the township will have to issue debt or apply for a loan to pay its portion of the project. The debt could be repaid by funds from the JEDD.

But Carlisle said the JEDD might only generate an estimated $400,000 annually, based on the businesses included in the proposed JEDD boundaries.

With that revenue stream, it would take the township more than six years to pay off debt if the township can secure an interest-free loan.

Documents provided to the committee by Albers and Albers show the township and city of Reynoldsburg would have to adopt legislation for the JEDD, holding separate public hearings to review maps and other documents related to the agreement.

The JEDD also has to be approved by the Licking County commissioners, who will review the documents to make sure trustees unanimously approved the agreement.

The majority of the land owners also must agree to be in the JEDD and the land in the JEDD must be zoned appropriately for the district, according to Albers and Albers.

An attorney from Albers and Albers is expected to meet with members of the township economic development committee and transportation committee at 10 a.m. Friday, May 31, at the township offices to answer questions about the project.

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