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Paonia ponders 'Rural Jump Start' resolution

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A program designed to attract new businesses and stimulate economic development is being considered by the Paonia Board of Trustees. Under the resolution the town would provide tax relief programs for new businesses and new hires that locate into approved "Jump-Start" zones. Participating businesses must be new to the state, hire at least five employees and provide services and goods for export out of the county. They also must not directly compete with already-established businesses.

Municipalities must pass a resolution authorizing participation in the program, which is jointly administered by the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, the Colorado Economic Development Commission and the state Department of Revenue. The program is seen as an economic development tool for counties and municipalities.

Participation requires refunding qualifying new businesses 100 percent of municipal sales tax for up to eight years. No businesses will be allowed into the program after 2020. Trustees met with proponents to discuss the program at a special meeting in January.

In considering passage of a resolution to participate in the program, Mayor Charles Stewart urged trustees to err on the side of caution in considering their vote, since the resolution binds the town to participate in the program.

"It is a significant action," said trustee David Bradford, who expressed several concerns, including the financial effects of foregoing up to eight years of property and sales taxes. While it could be of benefit, "It would behoove us to look into it a little more closely before we just approve it."

The board voted unanimously to table a vote on the resolution to allow time for the governmental affairs committee to look into the matter.

The City of Delta and the Delta County commissioners have already approved resolutions in support of the program. The Crawford Town Council will consider a similar resolution at tonight's council meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. at Crawford Town Hall.

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North Fork
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Jump Start, Paonia
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