Mark Buschkamp, director of the Cherokee Area Economic Development Corporation was present at the Cherokee County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday working on a map of potential enterprise zones in Cherokee County.
An enterprise zone makes available tax credits for economic development in the zone. In order to qualify for creating a specified maximum number of acres in the county, there must be a need established by certain percentage of the population being below or near the poverty level and other criteria regarding lack of population gain and percentage of elderly in the county.
Buschkamp said that Cherokee County qualifies under all of the necessary criteria.
Basically all of the area adjacent to the Little Sioux River and some areas designated for industrial development. Also included would be a ridge of land from the northwest part of the county south.
There is consideration currently of developing more wind power in Cherokee County but this is dependent on several factors coming together. One of these factors is the establishment of tax incentives, a matter that is currently before the Iowa legislature.
Another matter that is being considered by the legislature is the burning of fuel pellets that would be made from material that would otherwise go into the landfill or from material already in the landfill. Cherokee County is working toward the use of waste fuel pellets to turn a liability into an asset.
Burn tests show that the pellets burn cleaner than coal and the burn passes EPA standards.
"This could be the start of something big," Bud Clow, supervisor, said.
Jeff Simonsen, chairman, expressed concern that the Iowa Department of Natural Resources could decide on its own authority to make rules more restrictive than rules by the federal EPA or the state legislature for burning fuel pellets.
Buschkamp noted that some state legislators will vote against something just because it is not from their counties. They only vote for something from their area or in exchange for a vote benefiting their area.