The city of Sullivan and an area around it now have a new tool to attract industry.

The city received word on Monday that its application for an Enhanced Enterprise Zone has been approved by the Missouri Department of Economic Development.

Under the zone designation, new businesses and expansions of existing ones can get property tax breaks.

“Approval of the Enhanced Enterprise Zone for the city of Sullivan is an outstanding incentive for future economic development for the entire Sullivan area,” city of Sullivan Administrator J.T. Hardy said in a statement.

The entire city of Sullivan, a portion of unincorporated Franklin County around the city, the village of Oak Grove and the village of Miramiquoa are in the zone.

This is the first Enhanced Enterprise Zone in Franklin County.

Only communities designated as “distressed” are eligible for Enhanced Enterprise Zones. To meet that designation, the unemployment rate in the proposed zone must be higher than the state or county average; 60 percent of the people living in the zone must be at or below the federal poverty level; and the population in the zone must have decreased.

The hope is that the quality of life in the distressed area can be improved by raising wages and reducing unemployment.

Under the program, a business can qualify for a 50 percent tax break for 10 years if it invests a minimum of $100,000, pays 50 percent of employees’ health insurance costs and creates two new full-time jobs that pay the average wage of the county.

Larger tax breaks, up to 90 percent for 20 years, are available to businesses depending on the amount of investment, number of employees and amount of wages.

Hardy said only certain types of industries are eligible for the Enhanced Enterprise Zone benefits. Retail, gambling and eating/drinking establishments are among the businesses ineligible for the program.

Manufacturing, construction and warehousing are examples of industries that could use the program.