ADECA approves Fort Deposit Enterprise Zone exapansion

Published 11:57 pm Monday, January 27, 2014

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) has approved the Lowndes County Commission’s application for expansion of the Enterprise Zone in Fort Deposit.

Enterprise Zone incentives include the opportunity to apply for tax credits or tax abatements or both (not including educational taxes) which can used by either existing industries or new companies as long as they qualify.

The announcement was made Monday night prior to the regular County Commission meeting by County Commission Chairman Robert Harris.

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Among those in attendance were County Commission members, LaRue Pringle, chairman of the Lowndes County Industrial Development Authority; Thomas Ellis, co-owner of Priester’s Pecans in Fort Deposit and chairman of the Lowndes County Economic Development Commission (LCEDC), Rod Cater, business office manager for Alabama Power in Greenville, Georgiana and Fort Deposit; representatives from the city of Fort Deposit, including Mayor Fletcher Fountain, and representatives from ADECA.

Gina P. Smith, assistant director of ADECA represented Alabama Governor Robert Bentley and Jim Byard Jr., director of ADECA.

She said, “Anytime state government can partner with local government to bring new jobs to a community it’s a great thing, and it could not be done without our local leaders.”

She said ADECA was pleased “to take this application and get it back to a completed state as quickly as we did.”

Ellis said the expansion of the Enterprise Zone could not happen without the support of the County Commission.

While he said, “The Enterprise Zone is just one tool,” he said , “It does give us the opportunity to attract some businesses that are interested in our county.”

And he said it “gives a county like Lowndes County an advantage when were talking to them (businesses) about incentives that we can bring to the table.”

He said the County Commission and the LCEDC will work to expand the enterprise zone in Lowndes County to the full extent over the next year to bring a proposal back to ADECA to make a larger part of the county available for the Enterprise Zone.

Ellis said there are up to 10,000 acres in Lowndes County that can be identified for Enterprise Zones, so the LCEDC with the County Commission will be working to identify two other areas in the county.

Fountain said, “I’ll just say this is a great day for Lowndes County… This is a great result of what happens when towns, the county, the city work together.”

Bea Forniss, division chief for community and economic development for ADECA, took special pride in the announcement. She said she taught in Lowndes County and it is home for her.

She said of the expansion of the enterprise zone, “This piece is so important because if you have this piece in place… they will look at you… they will look at you because of the incentives and because of the bonuses and because of job creation…”

However, she said, “If you don’t have this in place,then the question would be why would I want to go there, why would I want to take my business there?

She said, “I’m expecting great things. If you market this right, it will blow up and be the best thing ever.”