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Ripon backs bid to create jobs in Manteca, Tracy
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RIPON – Ripon’s elected leaders threw their support for the San Joaquin County Enterprise Expansion Project aimed at creating more jobs to battle persistent unemployment.

The City of Ripon, which was annexed into the Enterprise Zone a year ago, didn’t add to this recent expansion.

“We put a bunch our properties, commercial and industrial, into to the zone (during the first expansion application in 2011),” said Ripon’s Director of Planning Ken Zuidervaart said on Tuesday. “There were no other properties we saw fit to add (to the expansion).”

He called the Enterprise Zone “an incentive program that allows businesses to capture tax dollars and tax refunds” in those designated area.

Even though Ripon may not have expand its enterprise zone, Ripon residents could potentially snare jobs that could be created in the areas of expansion that include the 1,047-acre Austin Road Business Park in Manteca on Ripon’s northern flank. Developers reportedly are in negotiations with several potential employers interested in locating in the business park.

Once a year, cities in the Enterprise Zone can add to the expansion. Manteca and Tracy, according to Zuidervaart, were among those that added properties.

The State of California granted the SJC Enterprise Zone its designation – good for 15 years and set to expire in June 2023 – about four years ago.

Ripon and Escalon were not among the cities in the original zone.

The proposed 2012 expansion consisted of about 1.089 square miles of area in the cities of Escalon, Manteca, Tracy, Stockton and parts of San Joaquin County.

In order to get state approval, cities in the Enterprise Zone – including the county – are required to get approval on the proposed expansion.

“Even though Ripon does not have any properties included in the proposed 2012 expansion, it does show our unity and support for the desired economic prosperity in all the participating cities and county,” Zuidervaart said.

He indicated that the City of Ripon, at some point in the future, might took to add property to the Enterprise Zone. “We would need the support of all other participating cities at that time,” Zuidervaart said.

The fiscal impact for the city was nearly $8,000 ($7,964) for the fiscal year 2011-12, he noted.

Zuidervaart is expecting much of the same for this year, too, since Ripon didn’t add to the expansion.

“The figure could go up or down slightly in the future as expansions happen based on Ripon’s percentage of property included in the zone,” he said.