Go Zone Act to help area businesses

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 3, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; Local and state leaders have a new tool they can use to recruit new businesses and help existing ones expand their operations.

The Gulf Opportunity Zone Act Of 2005, signed by President Bush several weeks ago, has been mentioned several times by local economic development and county leaders as an extra incentive to land new industries.

Under the &8220;GO Zone&8221; Act, businesses expanding or locating in a zone affected by hurricanes Katrina and/or Rita can qualify for a variety of tax credits as early as this year.

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That zone covers all of south Mississippi up to a line as far north as Warren and Lowdnes counties, including all of southwest Mississippi. No local parishes in Louisiana &8212; Concordia, Cathoula and Tensas parishes are included in the zone.

Woody Allen, chairman of the Natchez-Adams Economic Development Authority, said Adams County&8217;s inclusion in the GO Zone &8220;is something we plan to market pretty heavily.&8221;

Darryl Grennell, president of the Board of Supervisors, noted that Adams County has gotten calls from industrial prospects due in part to the area&8217;s new GO Zone status.

&8220;It&8217;s a good marketing tool for our area,&8221; Grennell said.

On the state level Scott Hamilton, director of communications for the Mississippi Development Authority, said that agency plans to market the new status heavily as well.

&8220;We&8217;re spending a lot of time and effort marketing these incentives, and we&8217;ll be distributing mail-outs to site location consultants letting them know what&8217;s available,&8221; Hamilton said.

But Hamilton said the GO Zone is already making a positive impact. He noted that in announcing plans for expanding its facilities in northeast Mississippi, Eurocopter mentioned GO Zone incentives as a factor.

And local leaders hope that type of good fortune will rub off on Adams County thanks to the GO Zone.

When it comes to marketing to prospects, Allen said, &8220;it&8217;s a huge asset to us.&8221;