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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

Council asks for Enterprise Zone extension

Friday, December 28, 2012

By KEN BRADLEY - Staff Writer

Rocky Mount Town Council has adopted a resolution requesting area legislators to sponsor a bill in the Virginia General Assembly to extend the period that the town's Enterprise Zone designation remains effective.

Without new legislation, the town will be stripped of its Enterprise Zone designation at the end of 2013, which means the town will no longer be able to offer businesses access to local and state financial support benefits for property investment and job creation, Assistant Town Manager Matt Hankins said.

The resolution requests that an Enterprise Zone in a locality that has an unemployment rate of more than 6 percent in any of the 12 months prior to Jan. 1, 2013, be extended until the final day of the calendar year in which a county or city has unemployment of less than 6 percent for a period of 12 consecutive months or until five years after the original date of expiration, whichever comes first.

Franklin County's unemployment rate, which includes the Town of Rocky Mount, has had an unemployment rate above 6 percent five months in this calendar year.

The current unemployment rate in Franklin County is 5.4 percent, as of October, which is the lowest jobless rate the county has had this year.

Hankins said the resolution will be sent to Del. Charles Poindexter and Sens. Ralph Smith and Bill Stanley.

"Essentially, passage of this request would give the Enterprise Zone five years to overcome the difficulties caused by the recession/slow growth cycle of the past five years," said Hankins. "It recognizes that using these incentives to land a significant new employer is likely to cause the unemployment rate to drop to a point where the Enterprise Zone will not be as needed as an incentive to induce new investment in the community."

Businesses still have over a year to plan and implement changes to take advantage of state real property investment and job creation incentives within the existing Rocky Mount Enterprise Zone, even if the request for the extension isn't approved by the General Assembly, Hankins said.

"Building investments qualify so long as they are complete and placed in operation with a certificate of occupancy issued on or before Dec. 31, 2013," he added. "Job creation is eligible within the same time period."

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