The Monroe County Board of Commissioners is looking into creating an Infrastructure Development Zone to incentivize broadband development in northern Monroe County. This map shows the zone being considered. (Courtesy image)
The Monroe County Board of Commissioners is looking into creating an Infrastructure Development Zone to incentivize broadband development in northern Monroe County. This map shows the zone being considered. (Courtesy image)
County officials hope to incentivize broadband development in the northern part of Monroe County with the creation of an Infrastructure Development Zone.

“The commissioners are concerned about the lack of broadband outside city limits, especially in the northern part of the county,” county Attorney Jeff Cockerill said.

The Monroe County Board of Commissioners will have a public hearing at 10 a.m. Wednesday to discuss it, which is the first step in creating an Infrastructure Development Zone. The hearing will take place during the commissioners’ meeting in the Nat U. Hill meeting room of the Monroe County Courthouse.

Cockerill said after the hearing, an ordinance needs to be drafted and approved to complete the process.

By creating the zone, he said, the commissioners can provide a personal property tax exemption, similar to a tax abatement, for a certain type of infrastructure in an outlined area. This includes broadband, gas or wastewater.

He said the goal is to attract private investment to develop the infrastructure needed to expand broadband into areas where service is inadequate. Doing so, he said, could potentially encourage economic development.

Other counties, such as Brown and Morgan, have already established infrastructure development zones. Unlike what the commissioners are proposing, Cockerill said, their zones cover the entire county.
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