Economic Outlook for Effingham Area Good Heading Into 2014, Says Economic Panel

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Published on January 3 2014 9:40 pm
Last Updated on January 3 2014 10:22 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

(LEFT TO RIGHT, JERRY JANSEN, TODD HULL AND CLAUDE HUDSON)

A local panel told those at the Effingham Chamber First Friday Luncheon that the economic outlook for the county in 2014 is good.

Realtor Jerry Jansen of Century 21 Realty Concepts, Economic Development Director Todd Hull of the City of Effingham and Washington Savings Bank Director Claude Hudson served as a panel for the sixth consecutive year to gauge how the area economy will fare in the coming year.

Jansen said the homes valued over $200,000 are the slowest to move off the market, but said they're moving faster in recent months, and said the absorption rate of homes going on the market is lower than in the past.

For his part, Hull said additional sales tax revenue is being generated in the community and that, of 19 similarly sized communities in Illinois, only three cities generate more in sales tax revenue.  He also reported that hotel-motel tax revenue was slightly higher in the past year and that the city's property tax rate is the 78th lowest of comparable cities in the state.

As possible challenges, Hull mentioned that the city will no longer receive any of the state's share of sales tax in the main TIF District, a hit of $2.5 million, and said the State is requiring cities to compete for new Enterprise Zones when the existing Zone expires in 2018.

During his remarks, Hudson made note of contributions to the Effingham County Economic Development Fund that he said will assist with additional enticement of businesses and industries to the area.  He also predicted that the US unemployment rate will fall below 6.5% this year.

Hudson suggested investors stay away from commodities and any government bonds due to a low rate of return, but suggested investing in corporate bonds (a decent return) and in tax-exempt bonds and equities.  He also expects that reverse mortgages will increase in popularity since "Boomers haven't saved for retirement".