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Posted on: June 16, 2011

Four additional counties adopt Rural Opportunity Zones resolutions

Four additional counties have signed resolutions this week joining the Rural Opportunity Zones (ROZs) program. Greeley, Hodgeman, Pratt and Wallace counties have become full partners in the state’s effort to spur economic growth and revitalization in rural Kansas.

“I want to thank the county commissions in Greeley, Hodgeman, Pratt and Wallace counties for taking the first step in our plan to provide incentives to recruit more people into rural Kansas,” said Kansas Commerce Secretary Pat George. “More people moving into Rural Opportunity Zones counties will bring economic growth, which is a top priority, and strengthen communities.”

With the adoption of the resolutions, individuals who move to one of these counties after July 1 can qualify to have 20 percent of their student loans repaid (up to $3,000 per year for up to five years) by the county and state, if the individuals graduated from an accredited post-secondary institution.

“Greeley County is eager to grow,” said Christy Hopkins, community development director for United Greeley County. “The Rural Opportunity Zones legislation will allow us to leverage state resources as we recruit and bring home skilled workers and professionals. We’re excited to be involved in the program and look forward to reaching out to interested individuals about our county.”

The four counties join Kingman, Lane, Rooks, Russell, Scott and Woodson counties, which joined the ROZs program earlier this month. Official application forms will be available from the Department of Commerce by July 1. More information on the program can be found at KansasCommerce.com/RuralOpportunityZones or by contacting Dan Lara, public information officer for the Department, at (785) 296-3760 or dlara@kansascommerce.com.

The ROZs program also provides a state income tax exemption for up to five years to individuals who relocate to a ROZs county from out of state. Counties do not need to opt in for individuals to participate in this portion of the program.

The program designates 50 counties as ROZs counties. They are Barber, Chautauqua, Cheyenne, Clark, Cloud, Comanche, Decatur, Edwards, Elk, Gove, Graham, Greeley, Greenwood, Hamilton, Harper, Hodgeman, Jewell, Kearny, Kingman, Kiowa, Lane, Lincoln, Logan, Marion, Mitchell, Morton, Ness, Norton, Osborne, Pawnee, Phillips, Pratt, Rawlins, Republic, Rooks, Rush, Russell, Scott, Sheridan, Sherman, Smith, Stafford, Stanton, Trego, Thomas, Wallace, Washington, Wichita, Wilson and Woodson.

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