ELKTON — The Town of Elkton Mayor and Commissioners voted to add approximately 399 acres to the town’s enterprise zone following a public hearing on the matter Wednesday.
Referenced as Resolution R6-2020, the resolution includes the Price Automotive Group property located at the end of Warner Road, NAB Capital on Warner Road and the former Bingo Truck Stop at the intersection of Muddy Lane and Warner Road, according to information provided at the meeting. Parcels also include a parcel on U.S. Route 40 owned by Williams Family Auto and the former Lidl property, also along Route 40. It also includes the Big Elk Mall and the Holly Hall site locations and a property on Bridge Street next to the Luarelwood Healthcare Center.
Cecil County Department of Economic Development Manager Sandra Edwards explained to the mayor and commissioners that an enterprise zone is an economically depressed area that is designated as an enterprise zone to encourage economic growth and job creation. Specifically she noted that the Cecil County Enterprise Zone is a partnership between the county, the State of Maryland and applicable towns within the county.
Edwards noted that landowners within the zone receive real property and income tax credits to incentivize investment and growth.
In response to a question from Commissioner Charles Givens, Edwards explained that those areas that are part of the enterprise zone have the option of developing, but she noted that there have to be capital improvements made on the properties in order to receive tax credits. Employers must also meet certain employee income guidelines to qualify.
During the discussion on the resolution, Commissioner Jean Broomell disclosed she had an ownership interest in one of the proposed properties on Bridge Street and therefore she abstained from voting on the matter.
During the public comment portion, a question was asked regarding whether the town had seen any development in other designated enterprise zones.
Mayor Robert Alt said the Upper Chesapeake Corporate Center was an enterprise zone that has been very successful for the Town of Elkton. Terumo Medical has also seen great strides that have benefitted the town.
Following a brief discussion after the close of the comment portion, the board voted unanimously to approve the resolution with Broomell abstaining.
The matter will now go to the county council for approval and the requested expansion will then be submitted to the state for its Oct. 15 consideration on expansions.
Town looking for new police chief
During the public comment portion towards the end of the meeting a question was asked regarding the status of the police chief in Elkton. Alt said that current Chief Matt Donnelly decided to retire with his last day set for Aug. 31 and the town had appointed Captain Joe Zurolo as the acting chief. Alt said it was his understanding that Town Administrator Lewis George had spoken with Zurolo about the position and that Zurolo had no interest in moving forward with the position of chief, and the city was taking applications to fill the spot. According to Alt, three applicants have applied for the position and the first review of applicants will occur Sept. 4.
In response to a question as to why Zurolo didn’t want to be the chief, Alt surmised that it may be the ever changing issues relating to police work, noting that the department has lost several officers over the last few weeks.
Town elections set
The town also approved a resolution establishing Tuesday, Sept. 15, as the date for municipal elections. Town Administrator Lewis George said the town had originally postponed the election, normally held in May, until after the issues related to the COVID-19 virus expired. Noting that no end is in sight to the pandemic, George recommended the town approve setting elections for Sept. 15, which was unanimously approved.
The town also extended the waiver of alcohol prohibition and authorization for temporary use of parking spaces along Main Street by food service establishments. The extension is effective until Sept. 17 and currently includes four businesses, according to information provided at the meeting.