New Enterprise Zone Board in Place


Published on February 7 2018 10:02 am
Last Updated on February 7 2018 10:02 am
Written by Greg Sapp

The new Effingham City/County Enterprise Zone is in place and the new Enterprise Zone Board has held its initial meeting.

The State approved a new Enterprise Zone last year, as the original City/County Enterprise Zone was nearing the end of its almost 30-year life. The original zone, established in 1988, provided incentives for development within the zone. 

One of the tasks of the new Board was deciding what initiatives would be offered for development in the new zone. 

Sasha Althoff, who works for the City of Effingham as an Economic Development Specialist, is the new Enterprise Zone Administrator. Althoff said the new board decided to offer a seven-year property tax abatement on industrial projects, and a three-year abatement on commercial projects. In cases where the project involves an addition to an existing facility, the addition would qualify for the abatement.

Another incentive will be a waiver of sales tax on building materials purchased for use on a project. A requirement is that the materials purchased must be subject to Illinois sales tax.

The dimensions of the Enterprise Zone have expanded. The biggest change is that properties in the Village of Teutopolis are now part of the zone, including Wooden Shoe Development acreage, Stevens Industries, 3Z Printing, Siemer Milling Company and Farmweld. A planned expansion at Farmweld is the first project to be undertaken in the new zone.

The zone has also been expanded to the north along US Route 45 to 1800th Avenue, to the northwest along Illinois Routes 32/33 to Lake Sara Road, south along US Route 45 around the airport, and in the area along Ford Avenue including the Meijer Foods site.

The new Enterprise Zone Board is made up of County Board Chairman Jim Niemann, City Plan Commission Chairman Brian Hayes, Unit 40 School Superintendent Mark Doan, Effingham Mayor Jeff Bloemker, Lustig Custom Cabinets owner Jim Zumbahlen as a representative of a business located in the zone, Teutopolis Mayor Greg Hess as a member of the public not located in the zone, and Don Dawkins of Fifth-Third Bank as a representative of the financial community. Niemann will chair the board, with Dawkins chosen as vice chairman.

The Board decided to establish a fee for those seeking a permit to undertake a project in the zone. Althoff said the fee will be one-half percent of the building material costs, up to $50,000. The permit fees will go into the City's General Fund to cover administrative costs.

The Board also directed Althoff to prepare an annual report on zone activity for representatives of the larger taxing bodies in the zone.

The Board will meet twice a year, as well as whenever any requests to annex into the zone are received.

Forms for those seeking approval of a project, or annexation into the zone, are available on the City of Effingham website.