The Enhanced Enterprise Zone (EEZ) Board elected Ann Graff as their new president during the combined board's annual meeting on Tuesday afternoon at the (Economic Development Sedalia Pettis County) EDSPC offices, 3615 W. Broadway.

"I love being a part of economic development overall," Graff commented, adding that she has served on the EDSPC board for eight years. As for EEZ, Graff represented the other taxing districts.

"I'm looking forward to working with Jessica; I've known her for about a year. She's a real sharp gal," Graff said.

"Ann has such a history in this community, and to have her join the board as our president ... I think Ann will do a great job," Craig said. Graff was nominated for the position by outgoing President Barbara Hayden.

Craig noted that the EEZ is "a wonderful economic development tool for the community that the county has invested in for may years now. So this is one of the tools that we can use to retain our existing businesses, help them to grow, and encourage new business growth within the entire county as well," she said.

Figures were provided showing the effectiveness of the Pettis County Enhanced Enterprise Zone (EEZ), which provides real property tax abatement to new or expanding businesses within the Zone.

The program is a discretionary program offering local tax abatement on real property until its expiration on Nov. 20, 2030. New jobs and new investments must be added to be eligible for benefits.

According to information provided by EDSPC, a total of 55 companies have been approved for the EEZ since its creation in 2005, investing $315,421,120.71, creating 2017 jobs and providing $85,893,057.58 in cumulative annual wages, with the average wage at $32,382 in Pettis County for 2015.

"Pettis County is very unique to have three zones that cover such a wide area within the county," Craig said.

Sedalia School District 200 Superintendent Brad Pollitt was nominated to serve on all three zone boards (Central, North and South) as his term was set to expire. In addition, his term will cover the one vacated by Cara Easter (South Zone), who no longer serves as superintendent of the Green Ridge School system.

Randy Kirby