Audit: JOBZ adds 98 jobs

Published 9:45 am Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Ninety-eight new jobs were created in 2011 in Albert Lea under the Jobs Opportunity Building Zones program, according to the Albert Lea Economic Development Agency.

Adding in these jobs, there have now been 763 jobs created in the community through the program since it began in 2004.

“Clearly the JOBZ program has been successful for Albert Lea, Freeborn County and the state of Minnesota,” said Albert Lea Mayor and ALEDA President Vern Rasmussen.

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The program offers local and state tax exemptions through 2015 to qualified companies that start up or expand in targeted areas of Greater Minnesota.

In Albert Lea the seven participating companies are Agilis, Alamco, Albert Lea Select Foods, Bridon Cordage, Larson Manufacturing, Trail’s Travel Center and Zumbro River Brand.

Growth in 2011 came from Agilis, which created 25 jobs; Alamco, which created 21 jobs, and Albert Lea Select Foods, which created 48.

Trail’s Travel Center lost two jobs, while the other companies retained the same number of jobs, according to the release.

The companies reported an additional capital investment of $1.28 million in 2011, bringing the total capital investment since JOBZ started to almost $49 million locally.

“The investment of over $48 million in our community not only helps stimulate the local economy, but it will provide long-term tax base growth,” said ALEDA Assistant Director Ryan Nolander.

Albert Lea Economic Development Agency Executive Director Dan Dorman said because the program is structured to sunset in 2015, it is unlikely there will be any new users of the program.

“This puts us at a competitive disadvantage compared to our neighboring states, making job creation more difficult,” Dorman said.

Currently there is not a comprehensive state program to take the place of the JOBZ program.


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