City delays vote on Enterprise Zone expansion

By Nick Kovatch on November 13 at 1:00pm

Expansion of the Enterprise Zone will have to wait a couple weeks before it gets approval from the city.

Jacksonville City Council tabled a vote last night that would have expanded the Enterprise Zone for the FutureGen 2.0 pipeline route. City Attorney Dan Beard explains.

“The city originally adopted the Enterprise Zone ordinance, so it’s up to the city to amend that ordinance to include the pipeline track,” says Beard. “We were not ready to go forward with that. It must be done by ordinance rather than resolution. At the November 25th meeting we’ll have on the agenda an ordinance extending the Enterprise Zone to the pipeline track.”

The expanded Enterprise Zone will include the path for a 12-inch-wide, linking pipeline from FutureGen’s proposed clean coal facility in Meredosia that will transfer liquid carbon dioxide to a permanent, underground storage site nearly a mile deep located near Route 123 and Beilschmidt Road.

JREDC president Terry Denison says FutureGen 2.0 is asking for sales tax exemption on building materials. He says there will not be any real estate tax abatement.

Alderman Steve Warmowski questioned the need for the sales tax exemption.

“They chose us for our geology and they’re going to build it here,” says Warmowski. “I just don’t think we have to keep going back to them and give them more and more incentives for something that’s already going to be built. They’re going to build this project and they’re going to be a part of the community. We don’t take tax money just for the pleasure of it. Taxes pay for things that the government does. FutureGen, I think, in many ways shown they want to be a part of the community and support the community, so they should do that with the sales tax, too.”

Denison says most of the pipeline building material will be purchased out-of-state, so Illinois wouldn’t be losing out on much sales tax revenue anyway.

“But do they pay a used tax on that?” asks Warmowski. “I don’t know. Is that the county that’s losing money? Is that the state that’s losing money? I don’t know exactly how it works out.”

Warmowski says he wants to get more information about the topic before the next City Council meeting.

The expansion includes about 64 acres of land.

County Commissioners approved the Enterprise Zone expansion last week.

Pictured: The proposed FutureGen pipeline route.