JEDD agreements help spur growth in Jackson Township

Jackson has seen a lot of growth during the past few years with additional retail, restaurants, office buildings and companies bringing manufacturing jobs.

Jackson Township Economic Development Director Randy Gonzalez said one of the tools the township has used are Joint Economic Development Districts (JEDD). The JEDDs typically involve the township, city of Canton and the business owner, Gonzalez said.

The township’s goal by creating JEDD agreements is to bring in more new jobs. Gonzalez said a JEDD is used for new jobs, not existing jobs.

“We have gotten a lot of comments about creating new jobs,” Gonzalez said.

A JEDD allows the township to offer incentives to business owners, which in term get paid back in time. For some of the agreements, employees of businesses within the JEDD pay a 2 percetn income tax with 1 percent of it going to Jackson and the other 1 percent going to Canton. Townships can’t collect income taxes, which is why the city of Canton is involved. In return, the city of Canton has agreed to not annex Jackson Township land.

Jackson Township Trustee Todd Hawke said when the property owner and the business owner aren’t the same person, both sides must agree on the JEDD before an agreement can be made.

Hawke said by the township collecting income tax it puts less of a burden on having to ask for additional property taxes. Gonzalez hopes in time the township can function mostly on income tax, but he knows that is going to take some time.

Active JEDDs in the township include one with Stolle Machine, Stark State for the Timken wind turbine and with Fitzpatrick for the land behind Home Deport off the future Strip Avenue extension. This summer, the township will extend Strip Avenue to make a connection with Applegrove Street. The township is hopeful this extension of the road could spark economic development on the approximately 57 acres of land.

Pending JEDDs in the township include ones with Com Doc, Tam ’O Shanter and Keck Business Park.

Areas services within the JEDD are the responsibility of the township.

Gonzalez said the township has worked closely with Canton and the two entities have tried to work together to keep businesses that are looking to expand in Stark County. He said it is all about working with companies and helping fit their needs.

“I am proud we have been so progressive with economic development,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez reflects back on the Stark Forum, which took place in February and hosted four Stark County mayors and one Jackson trustee.

“It really shows the presence of what we are doing here,” Gonzalez said. “I don’t think there is anyone doing what we are doing.”

While the focus with JEDD agreements has been on new business, the township doesn’t want to neglect the businesses it already has. Gonzalez said the township has been reaching out to existing businesses and making sure they are taken care of.

“We don’t want to forget about the ones we have,” Gonzalez said. “We want to take care of what we have.”

Gonzalez and Hawke agree a lot of positive has happened in the last seven to eight years and the township absolutely plans to continue to use JEDD agreements moving forward.

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This story was also published in The Suburbanite. www.thesuburbanite.com