Michigan’s SmartZones program were created by the state legislature in 2000, and are administered by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. “SmartZones” facilitate in capturing the growth of property taxes within the zone’s boundaries. Examples of captured revenue uses include purchase of property, construction of infrastructure, and creating publicly owned high-tech business incubator facilities.
Public Act 125 of 2015, which amends the Local Development Financing Act of 1986 to increase the number of Michigan satellite SmartZones from three to nine.
Currently, Michigan has 16 SmartZones and three satellite districts. In Huron Township, the SmartZone includes the the newly created LDFA2, Pinnacle area
SmartZone districts capture tax increment financing dollars and direct them toward economic development in the technology sector. Proponents say SmartZones provide technology companies, entrepreneurs and researchers a place to cluster, collaborate and share resources.
Being located in a SmartZone allows startup businesses to tap into certain pre-seed microloan and other business accelerator funds.
Without the legislation, satellite SmartZone districts would not be able to capture state education taxes, which are seen as a critical source of funding.
State officials say $1 million in seed money would be needed to support the SmartZone over five years. Dearborn has approached the Huron Township LDFA to create a SmartZone in their city.
The Dearborn/Huron Township Satellite SmartZone application would need to be placed by July 1, 2016. Both the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the Huron Township Board must approve the application.