Hoping to build on the momentum from the recent creation of a Joint Economic Development District (JEDD) at Metcalf airfield, the Lake Township trustees last week approved an initiative aimed at spurring job growth.
The initiative focuses primarily on the transportation industry, said Richard Welling, a township trustee.
“We decided we wanted to taker more of a leadership role in promoting business and creating jobs,” he said. “We have the airport, rail yards, truck terminals, and interstates. We want to take advantage of that and try to create some jobs.”
A link to the township’s Web site is being developed to offer area businesses a networking center for posting job openings and related information.
In addition, Welling said the trustees intend to take a more aggressive role in assisting local businesses with seeking grants and other incentives.
The township also plans to hold a “business summit” to offer companies an opportunity for sharing their concerns with local government officials. A date and place for the summit may be announced at next week’s meeting of the trustees.
“We want to get all the players in one room and hear what they have to say,” Welling said, adding the trustees will work in conjunction with officials from Toledo, villages of Millbury and Walbridge, the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments, Toledo Lucas County Port Authority, and the Wood County Economic Development Commission.
At last week’s meeting, the trustees authorized sending Police Chief Mark Hummer, who also has duties as township administrator, to a conference on trucking and freight.
In addition to the JEDD, a foreign trade zone is already located in the township.
Foreigntrade-zone.com describes the zones as “…an excellent way for U.S. manufacturers to achieve tax and duty savings. FTZ’s are secure areas within the U.S. where foreign and domestic merchandise can be placed without formal customs entry or payment of duties or taxes.”
Under the JEDD agreement, the township will receive 60 percent of income tax revenues from any jobs created in the district and the City of Toledo will receive 40 percent. Toledo will be allowed to retain the same amount of income taxes from any existing business in the city limits that relocates in the JEDD.
Income taxes in the district will be levied at Toledo’s rate of 2.25 percent and the township will receive its share quarterly.
The district will cover 424 acres at Metcalf, which is bounded by Drouillard, Moline-Martin, Lemoyne, and Ayers roads.
The property is owned by the City of Toledo and leased to the Toledo Lucas County Port Authority but the township provides fire and police service for the air field and adjacent business.
The district will be overseen by a five-member board, including two each appointed by the township and city and one to be named by the board.
Melanie Bowen, a township trustee, and Tom Hays, township solicitor, met with Toledo officials for nearly two years to negotiate the JEDD agreement.
The Wood County Board of Commissioners last Monday gave its approval to the district.
To underscore their initiative, the trustees plan to place a banner outside the township administration building with the slogan: Planes, trains, trucks = Jobs, Jobs, Jobs.