To bring in extra revenue to keep city
streets in good repair, the city will try again for a 0.5 percent
sales tax increase, in the April 1 general election. The referendum
for the sales tax increase was defeated in November.
The first of several informational
meetings to give the public details about the proposed tax will be
held tonight at 7:15 at Friendship Manor. City officials will be
present to answer questions.
On another front, Mayor Beth Davis and
three aldermen will go to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 28, 29 and 30 to
meet with Illinois Sens. Peter Fitzgerald and Dick Durbin and Rep.
Ray LaHood to ask for help with the $9.8 million upgrade of the
city's sewer plant.
Aldermen Bill Melton, chair of the
sewer committee, Verl Prather, chair of the finance committee, and
Steve Fuhrer, former finance chair, will make the trip, along with
Grant Eaton, sewer plant manager.
Prather said Environmental Management
Company, which manages the city's sewer plant, has advised the city
that other communities, some in Illinois, have received federal help
with the cost of upgrading sewer plants, and he has high hopes
Lincoln can also get some federal money.
He said by going in person, the city
officials can talk to legislators about the problems Lincoln is
facing, such as the closing of Lincoln Developmental Center, Logan
County's biggest employer, and the number of older residents in town
who live on fixed incomes. In order to get the $9.8 million loan
from the Environmental Protection Agency, the city has had to raise
sewer rates. The first step of the raise is already in effect, but
the second step will not go into effect until July of this year. Any
financial help from the federal government will lessen the amount of
the raise in sewer rates, he said.
Originally the cost of the trip for all
five city officials was to be paid by EMC, but EMC will pay only
Eaton's expenses. Prather said the city will pay the $400 each for
the mayor and aldermen, so there will be no question of a violation
of the gift ban act.
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Fuhrer said he believed that if voters
were well-informed about the need for the sales tax increase, they
would be willing to vote for it. Without additional money coming in,
the city cannot afford to make needed updates on infrastructure.
All revenues from the tax increase must
by law be used only for infrastructure, which includes streets and
roads, sidewalks, sewer line extensions, storm water draining, and
The increase would bring the sales tax
rate in Lincoln from the current 6.25 cents on the dollar to 6.75
cents, still lower than the sales tax in most area communities.
However, the tax would not be imposed on certain items, such as food
to be eaten at home or medical supplies, including prescription
drugs. It would also be excluded from the sale of motor vehicles
that are licensed by the state.
If the tax increase passes, the new
rate will not go into effect until Jan. 1 of 2004 and will not be
collected by the city until April of 2004. The new revenue is
estimated at about $550,000 per year. Fuhrer said the cost would be
only 5 cents more on a $10 purchase, 25 cents more on a $50 purchase
and only 50 cents more on a $100 purchase.
City treasurer Les Plotner suggested
that the council consider telling the public exactly what it planned
to do with the new tax dollars, such as which streets would be
repaired and in what order, and asking for input from the public to
see what streets people would like to see fixed.
In other business at the short meeting
Monday night, the council approved the appointment of Clara Janet as
a new commissioner on the City Planning Commission. Janet is a
longtime teacher at Carroll Catholic School.
The council also adopted a flexible
benefits plan for city employees as part of their supplementary
insurance, which allows them to set aside tax-free funds to pay for
day care and unreimbursed medical expenses.
A motion to
approve an amendment to the Lincoln College Industrial Revenue Bond
loan agreement was tabled.
The county board voted 8-3 Tuesday
night to put on the April 1 ballot a referendum for an economic
development promotion tax with a maximum levy of 4 cents per $100 of
assessed valuation. As in the straw vote last Thursday, board
members Mitch Brown, Pat O'Neill and John Stewart opposed the
measure. Bob Farmer, Paul Gleason, Dave Hepler, Dick Logan, Gloria
Luster, Chuck Ruben, Dale Voyles and Terry Werth supported it.
Ruben, the finance committee chair,
said that, based on last year's assessed valuation, a tax of 4 cents
per $100 would generate $140,000 to $150,000. A 0.04 percent tax
means that the owner of a $75,000 house would pay $9. The owner of
40 acres of farmland would owe $5.38.
Board chair Dale Voyles said he and
other board members will discuss how to inform the public about the
need for the tax. Ruben and Logan explained at Thursday's
board-of-the-whole session that the tax would fund operations of the
economic development office, including director's salary, office
expense, on-the-job training and advertising.
The referendum sets a maximum tax. If
it passes, the board could set the levy at a lower rate. But, as
Ruben pointed out Thursday, tax caps limit how much the levy can
rise in any year after the rate has once been set.
In other business Voyles said the seat
of Lloyd Hellman, who died Jan. 13, will be filled within the 60
days required by statute. Residents of District 1 who are interested
in being considered for the slot may notify Chuck Ruben, the other
district representative, or any other member of the county board.
District 1 includes these townships: Atlanta 1, 2 and 3; Eminence;
Orvil 1 and 2; Prairie Creek; Sheridan; and West Lincoln 7 north of
Route 10 West and Interstate 55.
In response to the vacancy created by
Hellman's death, Voyles changed several committee assignments. Newly
appointed chairs include Farmer on airport and farm, Luster on
insurance and legislative, Werth on road and bridge, and Hepler on
safety. Logan is the new 9-1-1 liaison. New committee members
include Hepler on airport and farm, Werth and Hepler on finance,
Hepler on road and bridge, and Luster on personnel. Voyles said he
will adjust committee assignments one more time after the new board
member is appointed.
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In other business the board approved
the highway department's compilation of maintenance projects and
materials for 2003. It also voted to accept a list of institutions
in which county funds can be deposited during the year. For the
first time a credit union -- CEFCU -- is on the list. Treasurer Mary
Bruns said the Health Department has a CD there.
In committee reports the board learned
--Ankle bracelets are currently being
used to detain three juvenile offenders, for a savings of up to $120
per day. Chief Probation Officer Dean Aeilts told the finance
committee that the ankle bracelet program is saving the county at
least $3,200 a month.
--A new automated phone system has been
installed in the safety complex. A person will still answer
emergency calls, but employees now have automated mailboxes for
messages. Verizon installed the system.
--Changes recently approved by the
animal control committee include several that must be voted on by
the full board. These ordinance changes, involving fee increases and
changes in the minimum wait before euthanizing an animal, will come
up for vote at the February board meeting.
--The animal control committee has 10
applicants to interview on Jan. 22 for assistant animal control
Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of Commerce annual banquet on Feb. 15
is the first dinner scheduled for the new American Legion Post 263
home. The previous building burned a year ago.
The Logan County Economic
Development Council circumvents the limited funding for an economic
development director by hiring Mayfield as a part-time director
through an executive share program with Lincoln Christian College.
Mayfield currently serves as director of partnership at the college.
The chamber of commerce has
also contracted with former state Sen. Robert Madigan of Lincoln to
represent its interests before the Illinois State Legislature. He
will focus on the reuse of the Lincoln Development Center and on
obtaining funds for economic development projects such as a commerce
The economic development
director position has been vacant since Mark Smith's departure last
August. Recognizing that revenue shortfalls for both city and county
governments make it difficult for them to provide the level of
funding they have had in the past, the council opted to fill the
position with a part-time director.
Mayfield, who has served on the
chamber's board of directors for three years, will focus on bringing
new business to Logan County, with an emphasis on developing a
public commerce park. He also will work to retain local businesses
and help them expand. As an executive shared between the EDC and LCC,
he will devote two full days to each entity per week, floating on
the fifth day, depending on the workload.
"We are very pleased to have
Jeff in the role of economic development director with his energy,
enthusiasm and commitment to Lincoln and Logan County," said Lincoln
Mayor Elizabeth Davis, chairman of the Economic Development Council.
"He will be a great asset in helping us bring economic growth to
With recent legislative
redistricting dividing Lincoln and Logan County into several
districts, the chamber wanted a person in Springfield who was
intimately familiar with the needs of the city and county to assist
state elected officials in representing those needs. Madigan will
work closely with state Sens. Bill Brady and Larry Bomke and state
Reps. Bill Mitchell and Rich Brauer.
"With his experience and contacts, Bob Madigan is a natural to work
for us at the state level," said Brian Ash, chamber president. "We
expect his efforts to complement our other economic development
efforts for Logan County."
Lincoln Christian College and Seminary first to enter shared
executive program with Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of Commerce
Gary Edwards, vice president of
development at Lincoln Christian College and Seminary, delivered the
following speech in support of Mayfield taking this position:
I am delighted to share in this
exciting announcement today. Lincoln Christian College and Seminary
is proud to be the first to enter into a shared executive agreement
with the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce.
For the past 60 years Lincoln
Christian College and Seminary has been a part of this great
community. Our faculty and staff have been known for their active
involvement in the life of Lincoln.
That which is good for the
community is good for the college and the seminary. That is the
reason for us entering into this unprecedented agreement. We are
committed to the economic health of Lincoln and Logan County beyond
just our economic impact on the community, that has averaged $20
million a year for the past three years.
In the late '80s there was
serious conversation about moving Lincoln Christian College and
Seminary to Indianapolis. The decision was made that we were where
we belong. Three years ago the offer to move the campus resurfaced.
This question had to be settled before building the Laughlin Center.
Once again it was determined we should stay in Lincoln.
This is the right time for us
to demonstrate our commitment to Lincoln by sharing a key executive.
While the timing is perfect for the chamber, it could not have come
at a worse time for us. We have just completed our capital campaign
and now must raise an additional $9 million, and Jeff Mayfield is
crucial to me in achieving that goal. Nevertheless, I can think of
no one is better suited to bring new business to Lincoln and Logan
County than Jeff Mayfield.
it is with pride in Jeff's past accomplishments and what he will
accomplish for our community that we announce today we will begin
sharing his talents with the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce starting
An immediate future, as spoken by Jeff Mayfield
I'm humbled to have been chosen
to work with the Economic Development Council representing Lincoln
and Logan County.
While the tasks before us are
certainly formidable, the potential for what our community and our
area can accomplish is unlimited.
We owe a huge debt to the EDC
and to people like Todd Lowman, Bobbi Abbott and others who have
worked diligently for the last couple of years laying the groundwork
for the proposed industrial park.
NOW is the time to mobilize our
city and county to create a comprehensive economic development plan.
Recently the commerce park has received a lot of attention, but it
is only one part (albeit a major one) of a totally successful
Success depends on us forging a
cohesive, close-knit team that will stay the course, work together,
and aggressively and methodically work the plan every step of the
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Initially, our goals will
consist of three major initiatives:
1. Prioritizing the city's and
county's strategies for economic growth. And that growth consists of
at least two components: the retention of businesses and the
attraction of new businesses to our area.
2. Mobilizing city and county
government, the EDC and the local chamber of commerce by bringing
all entities to the same page of the team's playbook.
3. Developing a procedure to
accomplish and measure our goals.
These initiatives will not be
accomplished in the first 10 days, nor will they be accomplished in
the first 100 days. A former local college administrator once said
about Lincoln and Logan County that we "don't tell our story very
well." I have not been afraid or even bashful to tell the story of
Lincoln and Logan County in ANY way. In fact, I've tried to be an
ambassador for Lincoln and Logan County since I first moved here in
1975! I believe in our community and I believe in our people.
IF we bond together, we can
replace the long-standing "survival mode" with a new "thriving
model!" Our government officials tell us that we have deficit
budgets with little or no relief in sight. We need revenue streams
now. The future of our town and county depends on us working
together to find new income sources. I believe that IF we act
quickly and responsibly, we can rapidly position ourselves for
future economic stability, if not considerable growth!
Recently, local editorials have
quoted a statement from the past that said something like, "It takes
a village to raise up a child." Adapting from that, I'd like to
suggest that it "takes a village to raise up…a village." In other
words, the job that lies before us will NOT be accomplished by one
man or by one organization. This must be a countywide project.
Today I'm calling on the great citizens of Lincoln and Logan County
to join with me and us to create a POSITIVE economic climate for the
future of our children and our grandchildren! May God bless this
endeavor, and may God bless Lincoln and Logan County!
[Photos by Jan Youngquist]
Jeff Mayfield has served as
director of partnership since 1999 for Lincoln Christian College and
Seminary, where he has created, developed and implemented special
fund-raising efforts. He served as director of admissions at LCC
from 1995 to 1999 and recruiter and coach from 1989 to 1995. Jeff
received his bachelor's degree from LCC in 1979. He has experience
as a public speaker, sportswriter, associate minister and youth
counselor. His volunteer activities include Habitat for Humanity,
YMCA and Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Although he was born and raised
in San Diego County, Calif., Jeff has lived in the Midwest since
A Lincoln native, Robert
Madigan has vast experience as a public official. He most recently
served as a commissioner on the Illinois Industrial Commission after
representing Logan County in the Illinois State Senate from
1987 to 2001. He chaired the Senate's Insurance and Pension Committee
and was a member of the Appropriations, Agriculture and
Conservation, Commerce and Labor, Public Health and Education
Madigan is a graduate of St.
Patrick Grade School and Lincoln Community High School. He received
his bachelor's degree from Millikin University. He was a special
education teacher at Lincoln Developmental Center from 1965 to 1966
and worked at State Farm Insurance from 1966 to 1975.
Lincoln and Logan County Economic Development Council
Elizabeth Davis, mayor of
Dale Voyles, chairman of Logan
Dick Logan, Logan County Board
Steve Fuhrer, city of Lincoln
Todd Lowman, chamber of
Bobbi Abbott, chamber of
John Dreusicke, at-large member
Jerry Johnson, at-large member
James White, at-large member
Through partnering and team
building, we will work to provide an economic atmosphere conducive
to profitable businesses, enlargement of the tax base and improving
the quality of life for the residents of Logan County.
promote economic prosperity, social welfare and quality of life in
Logan County through a program of encouraging and assisting existing
businesses to grow and expand, recruiting new businesses which add
to the local economic base and increasing employment opportunities.