Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Bill creating tax incentives around Cape May, Woodbine airports heads to governor

Airports in Cape May County will get an economic boost under a bill that awaits Gov. Phil Murphy’s signature.

The bill, recently passed by the state Legislature, will provide a tax credit of $5,000 a year for every job created or retained for eligible businesses around the Cape May County Airport in Lower Township and a $4,000 credit for businesses around the Woodbine Airport.

The legislation is similar to a bill Atlantic County has been pursuing for a year and a half, but there are some key differences.

In Cape May County, the credits can apply to any business looking to relocate or expand around the airports. Atlantic County is specifically targeting aviation companies to fill the Stockton Aviation Research and Technology Park near Atlantic City International Airport. That bill is also on the governor’s desk awaiting signature.

“Both airports are extremely important to our future,” said state Sen. Jeff Van Drew, who sponsored the bill with Assemblymen Bob Andrzejczak and Bruce Land, all D-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic. “It’s a bit more diversified than the Atlantic County bill, which I am also a sponsor of, but both are very good for South Jersey.”

The first business that could take advantage of the tax incentives is Cape May Brewing Co., which is looking to expand its facility at the Cape May County Airport.

“To incentivize businesses to come here is a good idea because the airport is a great spot,” said Ryan Krill, CEO of Cape May Brewing. “We’ve been maxed out here, and we’re at a tipping point where we’re making decisions about whether to expand here or go to another spot. This could make a difference in our decision.”

Cape May County, like neighboring Atlantic County, also has looked to aviation to diversify its economy beyond tourism.

The county and Delaware River and Bay Authority, which operates the county airport, have hosted a drone conference in Cape May for the past several years. The theory is that the county’s geography is perfect for flying and testing drones.

“I know we’re a bit out of the way, but I think it gives us an advantage because we’re not in a flight path or anything,” Woodbine Mayor William Pikolycky said. “We’ve been doing some joint ventures with the county on drones, and now we are building the infrastructure to help bring in businesses.”

Just last year, the county, Verizon and American Aerospace Technologies tested a new type of technology on a drone that brought cellphone service to part of Belleplain State Forest, which does not normally get service.

The “flying cell site” was developed after Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and can bring service back to an area via drone following a natural disaster.

Pikolycky said infrastructure improvements at his airport include two new helipads and upgraded runways, instrumentation and security.

The local airport also doubles as a fully improved and subdivided business park with water, sanitary sewer and fiber-optic infrastructure, Pikolycky said.

The Cape May County Airport also secured several tenants for its industrial park over the past year, all of which could benefit from this bill.

“The bill is important to help Cape May County develop businesses that are not uniquely tied to a seasonal tourism economy,” Freeholder Will Morey said in a statement. “This legislation encourages investment, growth and expansion for businesses that operate year-round and provides meaningful, sustainable job opportunities in our county.”

Pikolycky and Freeholder Director Gerald Thornton said they are going to contact the governor and encourage him to sign the bill.

“I have a letter ready to go to the governor explaining the importance of this bill and am inviting him down to see what some of our plans are,” Thornton said.

Original article ➤  https://www.pressofatlanticcity.com

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