Tax board approves several items in recent meeting

By Ray King

The Economic Development Corp. of Jefferson County voted Tuesday to amend its lease agreement with Energy Security Partners (ESP) to now include an expiration date and a requirement for full-time employees.

Commonly called the Tax Board, the Economic Development Corporation was formed to administer the three-eight sales tax approved by county voters for economic development., Energy Security Partners is the group that is planning to build a plant in northern Jefferson County to convert natural gas to liquid fuel.

The tax board also voted to provide a $4 million guarantee to the Arkansas Economic Development Corp., (AEDC) for a road that will be built into the site.

Board member George Makris explained the guarantee to Deltaplex News.

The land where the plant is to be located is owned by the tax board and ESP can reduce its debt by meeting certain guarantees, including creating a minimum of 225 full-time permanent jobs during a 12-month period beginning Jan. 1, 2027, and ending Dec. 31, 2027.

Also, ESP will be required to submit, beginning on Jan. 1, 2026, a written report detailing all investments made to the property. This investment will apply only to investments made before the expiration of the lease, Dec. 31, 2027