New Enterprise Zone Established in Bureau and Putnam Counties

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The newly reformed Bureau-Putnam County Enterprise Zone has new life, and officials from towns, schools and the counties were asked to grandfather in projects that did not receive a full 10 years of tax benefits from the expired zone.

Kevin Lindeman, economic director of North Central Illinois Council of Governments, said the zone is administered by Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunities. It encompasses 12.5 square miles with room to expand to 15 square miles, and is made for the purpose of targeting new and growing industries in an area by providing state and local incentives.

Lindeman asked the officials to begin thinking about passing resolutions by April or May to provide continued benefits to the projects that may not have received the full 10-year tax abatement from the expired zone, and also to provide the new zone a 10-year tax abatement for qualifying projects.

That tax abatement is sometimes a point of contention among school districts and emergency management agencies that rely on tax money to survive.

While real estate tax is being paid on the property, just not the improvements, Lindeman said, the zones still do affect the school districts, contrary to some information out there.

“The fact of the matter is, the state appropriates money for general state aid,” said Princeton Elementary School district superintendent Tim Smith. “All the general state aid has to be paid out of that. All this money (tax abatement incentives) is taken off the top across the state. Even if you’re not a part of the state that has these enterprise zones, you’re going to pay for these enterprise zones.”

However, later in the meeting, Smith said the school district supported the enterprise zone, realizing the business and industry it brings does benefit the area in the long run.

“We make a sacrifice to support the enterprise zone, but we always have,” Smith said.

Timeline and coverage

The zone started on Jan. 1 of this year, and officially ends on Dec. 31, 2031, but can be extended to Dec. 31, 2041. It covers portions of Bureau and Putnam counties, including Princeton, Granville, Hennepin, Ladd, Mark and Spring Valley.


The new zone is in the same boundaries as an older zone that had projects totaling almost $1.1 billion since 1987, including 18 Bureau County projects, and 15 Putnam County projects.

In Bureau County, some of these projects include wind turbine projects Providence Heights, Big Sky Walnut Ridge, Crescent Ridge and Agri Wind for $1 billion since 1990.

In Putnam County, these projects include Color Point and Marquis Energy for $355 million since 2005.

Individual cities contributing to the total shown:

Princeton with AmericInn, L.W. Schneider, and the McKeown group for $21 million since 2005

Granville with PC Foods at $1.2 million.

Ladd had seven projects for a $1.5 million investment since 1987

Mark had four investments for $5.3 million between 1994 and 2002

Sping Valley has had 15 projects for investments totally $12.7 million since 2005.

Source: News Tribune