Friday, November 21, 2008
sponsored by Jake's Furnishings

County: Public 'Truth in Taxation' hearing draws no special interest

Building purchase approved

Enterprise zone passed for mine

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[November 21, 2008]  New construction brings in more property taxes

The Logan County Board held a public hearing prior to the adjourned session on Tuesday evening. Sally Litterly, county clerk and recorder, said that the "Truth in Taxation" hearing was required because the amount of tax levy for this year would be more than 105 percent of the amount of property tax extended from the preceding year of 2007-2008.

The property tax levy amount for 2009 would be $3,226,700.43. This would be 105.2 percent of the extension of the 2008 levy amount of $3,067,876.79 and represents an increase of 5.18 percent.

Finance chairman Chuck Ruben took a moment to explain what this meant. He emphasized that this is not a tax increase and it is not an increase made by the county. "What it is, is that there was enough new construction that is going on the tax rolls that it exceeds 105 percent of what we could levy the year before," he said. The property taxes that would be collected where there has been new construction raise the amount of all property taxes collected to be a greater increase than the consumer price index or 5 percent, whichever is less, which is allowed each year, he said.

No one had any additional question or comment.

Grant helps purchase previously rented building

The board approved the purchase of a building that was previously rented. The space and rent was shared between the county and Lincoln Rural Fire Protection District and was used as a government warehouse.

Illinois state Rep. Bill Mitchell helped secure a $50,000 grant to help purchase the building so that it could continue to be used by the county's emergency services.

Property value estimates were reviewed in the finance committee and approved to recommend to the full board. The property would be purchased for $125,000, pending an environmental study.

A historical investigation was conducted and no ground contamination has ever been reported at the site, but to protect the county in the purchase it was determined that actual samples should be gathered.

There were 10 votes yes; Terry Werth voted no.

Lincoln/Logan County Enterprise Zone expansion request from mine

There was some hesitation in the request from International Coal Group, LLC, which owns the mine located just south of Elkhart. Victoria Kennedy, controller for the mine, said that they did not understand that they would be obligated to the $20,000 annual fee for the remaining life of the enterprise zone. The zone is now set to expire in 2017.

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Kennedy said that the project would be taking place in phases, which could vary; the project may be changing in scope as it progresses; and benefits realized by the enterprise zone might not always keep up with the fees the company would be paying.

Enterprise zone manager Phil Mahler said that he actually expects the mine to be back to delete some of the current requested areas and ask for other areas as the project proceeds.

Board member Chuck Ruben pointed out that after the approval, if things didn't go as anticipated for the mine, the company could come back to the Logan County Board and Lincoln City Council and ask to be dropped from the enterprise zone. It would be up to the current board and council to approve that request.

Ruben asked Kennedy if she would want to go forward, or have it sent back to committee to negotiate different terms. If the request went back for negotiation, chairman Dick Logan pointed out that it would be Dec. 16 before the board would be able to vote on it.

Kennedy asked for the vote.

The board unanimously approved the request. Votes cast did not include John Stewart, as he was absent for the evening.



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