Berlin Earns Enterprise Zone Designation Again

BERLIN – The re-designation of Berlin’s enterprise zone is expected to continue to attract new businesses.

Last week the Maryland Department of Commerce renewed Berlin’s designation as an enterprise zone. The enterprise zone program, which was created in 1982, provides real property and state income tax credits to businesses that bring jobs and make capital investments in designated areas.

“Enterprise zones are able to stimulate new employment and investment,” said Ivy Wells, Berlin’s economic development director. “Our goal is to provide incentives to attract companies to create permanent job opportunities, expand the tax base, and reduce unemployment.”

Wells said the Berlin Enterprise Zone, which includes the majority of the town’s commercial district, should play a key role in the redevelopment of properties such as the former Merial Select parcel that’s now owned by SonRise Church. She said properties within the zone had access to property tax credits as well as certain income tax credits.

Merry Mears, economic development director for Worcester County, said the credits could be an incentive for new businesses to come to town.

“This significant state level tax credit plays an important role for the small businesses located within the enterprise zone, and it also provides incentive for new businesses to locate in the area,” she said.

Mears pointed out that the county was home to two other enterprise zones, one in Pocomoke City and one in Snow Hill.

“Enterprise zone designation is one of several tools we rely heavily on to attract businesses to our county,” she said.

Wells agreed that the designation—which is good for 10 years—would help bring new businesses to town. While the town has offered the same credits in the past, they haven’t always been advertised.

“It wasn’t promoted that much in the past but Merry and I are going to work together to promote it,” Wells said. “It will allow us to stay competitive in on the Eastern Shore and in Worcester County.”

Statewide, there are 29 enterprise zones. In FY 2017, those zones have received roughly $32 million in property tax credits based on more than $2.8 billion in capital investments made in FY 2016. During the past five years, businesses in Maryland’s enterprise zones have made a total of $13.7 billion in capital investments.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.