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Thursday, November 21, 2019

City of Harrisburg City Council met September 26

By Kristine Gonzales-Abella | Oct 14, 2019

Meeting 01

City of Harrisburg City Council met Sept. 26.

Here is the minutes provided by the council:

The September 26, 2019 TIF meeting was called to order by Mayor John McPeek. Mayor John McPeek presided over the meeting with Commissioners Rupert Johnson and Ron Morse answering roll call. Commissioners Raymond Gunning and Roger Angelly was absent.

Mayor John McPeek announced the Ameren Street Light Project was completed.

Keith Moran discussed the Business District Program. This is a non-home ruled program which allows a City to increase their sales tax up to 1% of the designated area. The money can be used to fund a variety of things such as sidewalks, infrastructure, and ADA compliance and is extended to new structures and façade programs in the designated area. This will work well in this area as the City brings in people from other towns to shop. This can be used for the downtown area. It does not impact any medical or prescription related purchases, groceries such as canned goods, or car dealerships. The communities are using this money for public improvements especially in the downtown areas with beautification. The City of Harrisburg should consider staying in the same range as neighboring towns as far as sales tax. The boundaries have to be contiguous and last for 23 years.

The Business district project cost allows for studies, surveys, property assembly cost, site preparation cost, construction, renovations, installation and some financing cost. This also allows for recreational purchases, perhaps a dump truck and public safety purchases. The use of Business district funds has expanded. If the City of Harrisburg chooses to participate in the Business District, we would need to start the process in the next couple of months. It would need to be completed by April 01, 2020 for it to go into effect July 01, 2020 in order to start receiving money by September or October 2020. If this deadline is missed, the next date is October 01, 2020 and will go into effect January 01, 2021.

Attorney Robert Wilson stated the Business District needs to be in an area that will generate sales tax. If we use the blighted areas, how will this work with the taxing area? Keith Moran stated the standard of blight is not as restricted as with the TIF Program. Robert Wilson said a large number of the taxing entities are immediately blighted because of the flooding issue such as Route 45. Those businesses generate a great deal of tax, but they are blighted in the sense that they are under water. If we use the money to come up with an Industrial Park, we would not want to build in the flood areas. Perhaps the City would use an area in Dorrisville which is on top of a hill and is not far from Route 45. We need more population because the people who live here are only going to buy so much. There needs to be an area where we can put some manufacturing business to employee people to generate more sales, and help the equalized assessed valuation which will help other things.

Keith Moran stated we need to create some goals for the Business District plan. There needs to be a discussion on how to improve the housing, population, and to resurrect some neighborhoods. Robert Wilson suggest we establish jobs in order to create a bigger population. He suggest we use an area in Dorrisville or Dorris Heights as an Industrial Park. The Fire Department is a big asset to the City which we should promote to manufactures and have them build within the Fire Protection District. Commissioner Ron Morse talked about our good Fire and Police protection, good schools, churches and we have a great workforce. We have access to the interstate now. There is a lot of great things here and we must promote our area. Commissioner Ron Morse said must start promoting Harrisburg.

Keith Moran said it could be a large Business District and we need to create some goals. He suggest that during the budgeting process, we allocate money toward land acquisition for an Industrial Park. This could be used for the levee as well. We need to look at expanding outside of the floodplain. Robert Wilson would like to see the City of Harrisburg market a delineated area that had access to the four lane highway, access to Route 45 and all of the infrastructure improvements ready to go that was not in the flood plain. The City of Harrisburg needs a factory.

Commissioner Rupert Johnson said the property taxes keeps a lot of people and businesses away from Saline County. If we could help lower property taxes, the City could create new jobs. Commissioner Rupert Johnson asked if we are locked into a 23 year Business District Program. Keith Moran stated that we can dissolved the Business District at any time.

Robert Wilson suggest Council create some priorities and ideas on creating the Business District. Mayor John McPeek suggest determining the location and create an Industrial Park near Route 45, Route 13, and in an area that will not flood. Commissioner Ron Morse likes the idea of the Dorrisville area to be included in the Business District. This will help promote through the Opportunity Zone. We have the TIF, Enterprise Zone and Opportunity Zones. We can map out a potential Business District where it could go and get a starting point. We need to determine the tax and what we want to accomplish. Keith Moran went to visit the Chamber of Commerce about the Enterprise Zone. Alex Watkins will be doing retention visits. He will be discussing the Enterprise Zone during his visits.

Keith Moran discussed the Enterprise Zone. His firm was hired by Saline County Industrial to re-apply for the Enterprise Zone that has been around for about 30 years. All Enterprise Zones are expiring. As a result, you have to re-apply for the Enterprise Zone designation and it has become very competitive. Once the zone expires, anyone can get that designation. They are not showing favoritism to the places that already had the zone. There are nine available zones. Saline County is re-apply for their zone. Keith Moran said now is the time to redraw the map.

The Enterprise Zone is to create and retain jobs and to spark investment within an area. The incentive can be received for investment that occurs within the Enterprise Zone. There are no negative aspects or disadvantages to be in the zone. There are many incentives to be in the Enterprise Zone such as property tax abatement, sales tax exemptions, machinery/equipment sales tax exemption, utility tax exemption and investment tax credit. This is a great program that the City would want.

There was a Public Hearing held today by Southeastern Illinois Regional Planning as part of the process for the application as required by DCEO for the Enterprise Zone. As of now the zone is staying the same; however, if we want to make structured changes to the zone now is the time. There is a meets-and-bounds legal description for the zone which is 15 square miles. Now is the time to determine where to have the Enterprise Zone in which can be used to build businesses. We will look at deleting some areas in order to add areas. This information will need to be submitted no later than October 15, 2019. We need to get letters of support from businesses for the Enterprise Zone. These will be compiled and show how jobs are going to be created, do economic impact statements, and this goes with the application. Alex Watkins from the Chamber of Commerce will be a great resource for these letters.

The Council agreed to meet on October 15, 2019 at 2:30 p.m. for the next TIF meeting. The Business District will need to be on the November agenda.

Commissioner Ron Morse made the motion to adjourn. Seconded by Commissioner Rupert Johnson. A roll call vote was taken with all present voting yes. Motion carried.

Adjourn: 3:40 p.m.

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City of Harrisburg