Columbia City Considers Consistent ERA Plan (NBC33 VIDEO)

By Eric DeFreeuw

September 16, 2013 Updated Sep 16, 2013 at 5:54 PM EDT

COLUMBIA CITY, Ind. (NBC33) – Columbia City’s City Council will soon be entertaining a plan for a city-wide blanket economic revitalization area plan, or an ERA.

The city currently has 25-30 different plans that can make the tax abatement application process for new or existing businesses very difficult.

Whitley County Economic Development Corporation President Alan Tio says the new plan will eliminate unnecessary steps, which clog up the process.

"We're trying to streamline processes involved, simplify decision-making, and really reduce the amount of paperwork and redtape involved so that our business owners and business managers can get to work."

Columbia City is not the first in our area to do something like this, which is quickly becoming a growing trend for communities in the region.

“We want to be known as not only a community here in whitely county, but a region in Northeast Indiana that really tries to be very aggressive and supporting of companies as they have growth opportunities,” Tio says. “We don't want any small business owner, business manager or entrepreneur or large business owner to think of expanding elsewhere because they can't find good partners to work with here in northeast Indiana."

Whitley County implemented a similar plan in an area known as the US 30 Corridor three years ago with much success.

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