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Village Vision News

Board OKs enterprise zone ordinance, approves intergovernmental agreement

Thursday, December 11, 2014

When Larry Altenbaumer, interim president of the Economic Development Corporation of Decatur/Macon County paid a visit to trustees at the Sept. 15 board meeting, he was clear about his mission. The impetus, he said then, was the EDC’s goal of expanding the local enterprise zone.

At the Dec. 1 board meeting, Ordinance No. 934 establishing the Decatur Macon County Enterprise Zone was on the agenda for village trustees to decide on. Also on that same agenda was whether to approve the Decatur Macon County Enterprise Zone Intergovernmental Agreement.

In a memorandum and in speaking to trustees at the Dec. 1 meeting, Village Administrator David Strohl recommended they approve both the ordinance and the intergovernmental agreement.

The Enterprise Zone, Strohl told trustees, would offer Forsyth “another tool in our toolbox to incentivize development in the village.”

If the village were to join with other local municipalities — Decatur, Macon County and Mount Zion — that would allow the four municipal bodies together to increase the enterprise zone from the current 12 square miles to the maximum 15 square miles. Forsyth and Mount Zion would be newcomers. Mount Zion approved both the ordinance and the intergovernmental agreement at its meeting Dec. 1.

Altenbaumer told the board in September that he believed the area would likely get approval, saying then that there was “a high-level of confidence that we’ll be approved for one of the enterprise zones” by the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

Before the vote by trustees on Dec. 1, Strohl cautioned that the outcome was not certain.

Enterprise zones throughout the state are set to expire in July of 2016. The Decatur/Macon County Enterprise Zone has been in effect since 1983. In September, Altenbaumer noted that “more than $400 million of local capital investments and about 1,600 jobs have been supported by the enterprise zone over the past 10 years.”

Strohl reminded trustees that enterprise zone incentive options include: ½ percent investment tax credit, sales tax exemption on construction materials and property tax abatement, to name only a few.

Applications must be filed by Dec. 31, 2014 with the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. The decision for approval will come by Sept. 30, 2015, Strohl told trustees. If approved, the Decatur/Macon County Enterprise Zone would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2016 for a period of 15 years.

Trustee Dave Wendt made the motion to approve Ordinance No. 934, which was seconded by Trustee Bob Gruenewald. All votes were Yea.

Gruenewald made the motion to approve the intergovernmental agreement, which was then seconded by Wendt. All votes were Yea. 

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