Logan County reviews economic
development participation with Peoria region and Electric
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[December 15, 2015]
- On Tuesday, December 8, 2015, the Logan County Board's Executive
Committee held their monthly meeting. After brief updates on old
business, discussion focused on the recent Greater Peoria Economic
Development Council (GPEDC) presentation and the reconsideration of
Jennifer Daly of the Greater Peoria Economic Development Council
explained what the GPEDC does at a November Workshop for members of
both the Logan County Board and the Lincoln City Council. Daly said
the GPEDC is intended to help counties grow businesses and foster
The GPEDC has received $5,000 from Logan County every year since
joining the Peoria Region with four other counties by piggy-backing
its Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy. This year's fee
would be $3,000.
Daly said that in 2015, the GPEDC has done some work in planning a
Fifth Street Road project, worked with Inland Tool in Mount Pulaski
and Eaton Corporation to include them in a Manufacturing Network,
and done business retention visits in Logan County. Daly said the
GPEDC is also working with Bill Thomas of the Logan County Economic
Development Partnership on the Atlanta I-55 Promotion, with many
developers receiving information about this promotion.
As the Executive Committee discussed Daly's presentation, committee
member Andy Anderson said he was impressed by what they do.
Committee member Kevin Bateman said that big businesses could
expand. Bateman said he is surprised the old PPG building has not
been suggested as a centrally located place to make seals or
bearings for places like Caterpillar.
Committee member Dave Blankenship said he feels we need more push
for the county. He asked if Logan County would line up more with
Sangamon County or Decatur.
Committee member Dave Hepler said he has made arguments that Logan
County should work with other places.
Hepler also said there is little communication between Logan County
and the GPEDC. He said we do not know about many of GPEDC's projects
and GPEDC does not know about many of Logan County's projects.
Hepler said their council needs presence from the Logan County
Bateman said that when Bill Martin was on the board, Martin went to
GPEDC meetings and learned about their work. Bateman then motioned
that Hepler find a Board representative that would attend GPEDC
meetings even if it is just every other month.
Hepler said he will suggest Andy Anderson to the board as a
representative, with Blankenship and Bateman as alternates.
Reconsidering Electric Aggregation was another topic that had been
discussed at the recent County and city meeting, and some committee
members had questions.
Lincoln City Administrator Clay Johnson previously said that
Electric Aggregation program would be a good idea as Ameren is
likely to raise its rates this upcoming year. Aggregation allows the
County to help negotiate affordable electric rates for consumers,
and the Farnsworth group is helping with the negotiations.
Blankenship said he would like to compare two or three different
companies. He asked if the Board is going about the people's
business properly by having just one bidder and that during an
initial six month period, the savings would not be that substantial.
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Bateman said he explained to the Farnsworth group that the County
Board just represents a small portion of the County (unincorporated
areas), and it is up to Atlanta, Elkhart, and Mount Pulaski to
choose for their citizens. He said when he has talked to the group
that there is no reason for them to come to the County Board until
they get the city of Lincoln and then they can use that bargaining
power to get the other towns in.
Committee member Scott Schaffenacker asked how much experience the Farnsworth
group has in Electric Aggregation.
Bateman said he saved money in previous years, but others did not save any
money. Homeowners and small businesses save money, but not "big power users." He
said the County needs to pick a person to help lock in a rate and Clay Johnson
can look into it.
Anderson said the Farnsworth group told the County they should go with Ameren a
few years ago when Ameren was the cheapest, but now that rate is going up.
Bateman said the aggregation program will not cost people any money, and is
likely to save money. People can sign an opt-out letter if they do not want to
go with another company.
Blankenship said he does not really like aggregations due to trying to avoid
monopolies and is not sure the six month contract that has been suggested is
worth it. He wants to know how much they would actually be saving.
Blankenship said everyone needs to know about administrative fees. Anderson said
these fees would keep people from saving as much money. Bateman said he does not
like the administrative fee either, and wants to help people out more by not
adding on a fee.
Hepler said that all pay the administrative fee now, and each unit of government
has to choose whether to assess it. He said he got a call from Logan County
Economic Development Partnership President Steve Smith about the possibility of
not charging the fee. Hepler said the fee was offered early on as a way of
getting more money for the city.
Hepler said they can revisit the issue in January. He said that talking to
County Highway Engineer Bret Aukamp could be helpful. The Board will have to
vote whether or not to do the Electric Aggregation and he motioned to table the
administrative fee for now.
[Angela Reiners, with contributions from Nila