Wednesday, January 13, 2016
EDWARDSVILLE — Four Madison County enterprise zones, including a new zone encompassing parts of Collinsville, Glen Carbon, Maryville, Highland, St. Jacob and Troy, recently received approval at the state level.
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) certified the zones in December, but they didn’t become official until the recent approval from the Illinois Legislature. Three of the areas were actually pre-existing zones that, by law, required re-certification this year.
Madison County Chairman Alan J. Dunstan said in a release that the enterprise zones are an essential element to economic development.
“The enterprise zone program in Madison County has been particularly successful, providing the county and local units of government with the tools and incentives necessary to stimulate new business development and create jobs for our residents,” Dunstan said.
Enterprise zones help businesses by extending a property tax abatement for 10 years for the assessed value of their improvements or renovations as well as a 6.25 percent sales tax exemption on building materials used to improve or renovate property within the zones. The sales tax exemption applies only to building materials purchased from Illinois retailers or suppliers.
According to the DCEO, statewide enterprise zones resulted in more than $2 billion in capital investments during the 2014 fiscal year. Those investments created more than 9,000 jobs and resulted in the retention of more than 14,000 jobs.
“Without the benefits offered as part of an enterprise zone, we would not have seen the development of Madison County as the midwest’s premier inter-modal distribution center or numerous other developments that have created jobs and economically benefitted the county in many ways, such as the multi-billion dollar expansion at the Phillips 66 refinery,” Dunstan said in the release. “Importantly, the enterprise zones also help us retain businesses.”
The three renewed enterprise zones in the county include the Riverbend, Southwestern Madison County and Gateway Commerce zones. The Gateway Commerce Enterprise Zone includes portions of unincorporated Madison County and the municipalities of Edwardsville and Pontoon Beach. The zone was designated as an Illinois Enterprise Zone area on Sept. 8, 1997.
The Riverbend Enterprise Zone includes the municipalities of Alton, Bethalto, East Alton, Hartford, Roxana, South Roxana and Wood River, as well as parts of unincorporated Madison County. The Southwestern Madison County Enterprise Zone includes portions of unincorporated Madison County and the cities of Granite City, Madison and Venice.
The newest enterprise zone in the county is the Discovery zone, which includes portions of Collinsville, Glen Carbon, Maryville, Troy, Highland and St. Jacob.
“There is no revenue coming into Madison County if new businesses do not move into our area or existing businesses choose not to expand or relocate to another area,” Dunstan added. “I am particularly happy with the approval of the Discovery enterprise zone, which I expect to significantly benefit a number of municipalities and their residents.”
Dunstan said Madison County Community Development staff members are already arranging meetings with representatives of municipalities in the Discovery zone to familiarize them with its benefits. The chairman also said Community Enterprise Zone Update Meetings will be held in all areas affected by the zones in the coming weeks.