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Lincoln-Logan Enterprise Zone extension helps Sangamon County     Send a link to a friend

New information system approved

[SEPT. 22, 2004]  An enterprise zone extension plan that includes the Illiopolis Formosa plant, an area in Elkhart for the construction of a CornBelt power plant and two property areas in Lincoln was voted on by the Logan County Board.

Formosa spearheaded and financed the plan, which was packaged by a former state employee who is knowledgeable about the intricacies of getting an extension passed. Formosa will not only see savings on construction material and property taxes paid to Sangamon County, but will continue to see benefits of approximately $200,000 per year savings on relief from a state-imposed natural gas tax for as long as they are in the enterprise zone. Without these benefits it is possible the plant would not be able to rebuild.

What does an enterprise zone do?

The purpose of enterprise zones is to develop property for industry. It helps bring industrial, manufacturing operations or service jobs to an area. It could be factory production, telemarketing, health facility or any number of other businesses that are something other than retail or residential. Incentives are offered help get businesses here, Logan County zoning officer Phil Mahler said.

Enterprise zones were established throughout the state of Illinois to help with economic development. Each of the zones has specific needs parameters that new territories must meet. Lincoln-Logan County extensions must meet a 120 percent unemployment increment.

The zones have a 10-year life span and come up for renewal in 1997.

 

Incentives to businesses:

>Property tax relief

Businesses receive temporary, partial or full city, county and state tax relief.

Enterprise zone participants are relieved of paying the increased portion of the property tax that comes when they develop or improve a property -- 100 percent the first five years and 50 percent the next five years.

>Retail tax relief

Businesses are exempt from retail taxes paid on construction materials for permanent structures when they buy from another business in an enterprise zone anywhere in Illinois.

>Some state taxes

The state has added a natural gas tax to large consumers, which has increased costs 75 percent to 80 percent over the last couple years. Formosa uses a lot of natural gas in the processing of their PVC product. They expect to see an estimated $200,000 savings from this alone.

How does the area benefit?

Sangamon and Logan County businesses will benefit from the purchase of some construction materials. All areas with new development will gain from temporary construction and continuing good-paying industry jobs, as well as worker support businesses (cottage industries), such as fuel and food and increased numbers of residents in the area.

In appreciation of the benefits that the enterprise zone offers, Formosa will be paying Lincoln and Logan County $5,000 each to be used toward the enterprise zone. Formosa will also cover the work and cost of the next 10-year renewal process that carries the enterprise zone to June 30, 2017.

 

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There was little discussion before the vote was taken Tuesday evening. Board member John Stewart asked Steve McClure, who presented the plan, if the state economic development and commerce department and Sangamon County approved of this. 

McClure said yes.

Chairman Dale Voyles added that he received a letter from the chairman of the Sangamon County Board thanking us for our help and cooperation. “They are very happy that we are willing to work with them,” he said.

The plan has passed the Regional Planning Commission Enterprise Zone Board, the city of Lincoln, Sangamon County Board and now the Logan County Board. It will be presented at the next monthly meeting of the village of Elkhart, and then it will go to the state enterprise zone board for final review and approval.

The request was 100 percent approved.

 

New information system approved

The county approved a recommendation of new software and some hardware changes and upgrades for the computer information system that integrates the county departments and offices. Research of the county information needs was performed by a local firm, Integrity Data Inc. Patrick Doolin of Integrity Data began meeting with county departments in June and through the summer sorted through software options that best fit the county's current and future information system needs.

The major emphasis was placed on financial accounting, payroll processing and tax records. Software will be purchased from Microsoft Business Solutions, Tectura and DevNet. There will be a fee paid to the current software supplier, Manatron. And some additional hardware will be purchased from Computer Consulting Associates, a local company. A total cost of $578,872 is expected to be spread out in payments over five years. 

The manner of financing the system will be determined with further research by the finance committee. Voyles said that if it is legally permissible and a good deal can be found with a local bank, they would prefer to pursue that avenue. If it is not an option, then there are several other options, including financing through Microsoft, finance committee chairman Chuck Ruben said.

Timing of the changeover is important to avoid excess fees for using the old software past its renewal time, and careful consideration was given to not interrupt annual busy times in some departments. Financials will be up and running on the new system by Dec. 1. Some other parts are expected to take until January, Doolin said.

The proposal was 100 percent approved.

[Jan Youngquist]

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