Otero County Economic Coordinator Danelle Berg, with the help of La Junta Economic Development Director Ryan Stevens, has reapplied for the county to be a part of the Rural Jump-Start Zone program.

Encouraged to apply by the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, Otero County Economic Coordinator Danelle Berg, with the help of La Junta Economic Development Director Ryan Stevens, has reapplied for the county to be a part of the Rural Jump-Start Zone program. This program provides tax relief to new businesses and new hires of these businesses that are located in certain economically distressed areas. The programs align with local or regional state higher education institutions, and thus the cooperation of these institutions is also necessary. Berg designated Otero Junior College and Adams State University (Alamosa location, has working agreement with OJC for local classes).

Benefits are relief from state income taxes, relief from state sales and use tax on purchases, relief from county business personal property taxes and relief from municipal business personal property taxes. These may take the form of incentive payments, exemptions, tax credit certificates or refunds. In practical terms, new businesses may receive a 100 percent rebate for a minimum of four years and may continue for eight years.

The program will cease to exist on Dec. 31, 2020, but businesses enjoying benefits will continue to receive them according to the schedule that was created when they were approved.

The above is Otero County Resolution 2016-05. Even though application was encouraged by OEDIT, the Rural Jump Start Zone is not a sure thing. Five Zones are to be awarded and roughly 45 of Colorado's counties are eligible for the program. However, Berg said in 2017 all applicants will be accepted if eligible for the award.

Other resolutions are as follows: 2016-01 appropriates additional funds to defray added expenses in 2015; Resolution 2016-02 appoints Jim Baldwin Otero County Chairman and Kevin Karney vice chairman for 2016; Resolution 2016-03 designates the La Junta Tribune-Democrat and Fowler Tribune for official publications (Rocky Ford was designated last year), makes board assignments (same as last year, except Keith Goodwin is taking Kevin Karney's appointment to SCEDD Board, which meets in Pueblo, due to conflict with Resada, which meets in Bent County). Office hours and meeting times remain the same. Resolution 2016-04 designates depositories for 2016, which are the same, except for the addition of Multi-Bank Securities Inc.

A liquor license renewal was granted to Alfred Becerra, co-owner of The Beer Joint, 102 N. Main, La Junta (North La Junta).