The mine is offering to pay the city $10,000 a year until the end of
the enterprise zone in 2017. The same amount would be paid to Logan
City attorney Bill Bates said: "I remind you that the enterprise
zone administration fee can only be used with such matters as
related to use for the enterprise zone. I also remind you that you
are using up your capacity for enterprise zone."
While the mine is requesting 2.48 square miles, enterprise zone
manager Phil Mahler said that another unused 1.5 square miles would
be added back in at the same time. "You'll be down to 4.17 square
miles, which is 2,600 acres," he said.
Mahler said that he'd like it if somebody came and said they
needed 4 square miles, but the biggest need we've seen around here
previously has been only 1 square mile. He said that there is also
another 3 square miles, which was put aside in hopes of interesting
Monsanto or another industry in using land along Route 66 to the
north of Lincoln, that can be brought back in if it is not used.
Bates told council members to keep in mind the big picture. What
the city derives from this is negligible compared to what the people
gain who want it. "The purpose of the enterprise zone is to attract
business to our community and then derive employment benefits and
revenue benefits to our community. That's not what really happens
when you extend the enterprise zone to Monsanto, the wind farm and
for ICG," he said.
The controller for the coal mine, Victoria Kennedy, addressed the
council. She explained, "Our coal mine is 20-some years old, and the
reason we finally got approval from our corporate office in West
Virginia to proceed with this very expensive capital expenditure --
where the production tap is, where the coal comes out of the ground,
the fear is that the mine could squeeze shut." She added that this
isn't going to happen tomorrow, but the possibility is there. "There
would be a collapse that would be beyond economic feasibility to
repair," she said.
She added, "We've been working over a decade to get this
approved, and we're very excited about it. We would also appreciate
the assistance of the state of Illinois, the county of Logan and the
city of Lincoln in signing this agreement."
A representative for the mine's enterprise zone process, Andy
Hamilton, spoke, saying: "This is a Logan County business. They have
over 260 employees. They have a payroll that exceeds $10,000,000 a
year. So, there's significant economic impact. The actual annual
impact exceeds $750 million."
Bates agreed, but brought out that the new development would
shift benefits more to Sangamon County. Where the coal comes out of
the mine is who gets the sales tax from its sale. Currently that is
in Elkhart. Elkhart is getting 1 percent, which amounts to $600 to
$700 a month off it. Logan County has been getting 0.25 percent.
Once the improvements are made and the mouth of the mine moves, that
sales tax will go to Sangamon County.
Rohlfs shifted the discussion and asked what the $10,000 fee
could be used for.
[to top of second column]
Bates recalled comments that some communities have used the fees for
economic purposes promoting the enterprise zone. Arguably some of it
can be used for that purpose within the enterprise zone, he said.
Hamilton's interpretation was broader, and he said
that other communities are able to use their debt fee for their
economic promotion activities.
Marty Neitzel, acting mayor for the evening,
questioned how far south the business would be moving.
Kennedy said that it would stay just north of
Bates asked how the operation's offices might be
affected and if it could have a property tax impact.
Kennedy said that the offices in Williamsville would
probably be closed and sold. The facilities where processing takes
place in Elkhart would remain in full operation just as they are
now: cleaning, storing and transferring coal from that location.
Hamilton concluded his comments by saying: "How many
companies are doing a $20 million expansion? With the way the
economy is, it's kind of nice that somebody's maybe spending money
in this county."
The village of Elkhart passed ICG's enterprise zone
request unanimously Monday evening. The Logan County Board passed it
unanimously Nov. 18.
The matter comes to a vote before the Lincoln City
Council next Monday.
The Lincoln and Logan
County Enterprise Zone was begun in 1986 and renewed in 2007.
Enterprise zones were created by the state of Illinois as a means
for small communities to attract businesses and create jobs by
offering economic incentives. Each enterprise zone can be up to 15
square miles and is renewed by the state every 10 years. The program
may or may not be continued by the state in the future.
Lincoln/Logan County Enterprise Zone
Incentives for Capital Improvements
Past related articles