Ezard, Douglas lead charge for getting enterprise zone again

By Benjamin Cox on November 26, 2018 at 11:27am

Two of Jacksonville’s prominent community members are leading the charge of entities in the local community coming together in pursuit of reestablishing a local enterprise zone.

One topic of discussion at a number of recent Jacksonville city council and Morgan County Board of Commissioners meetings has been the idea of declaring a certain enterprise zone within west central Illinois, including Jacksonville and both Morgan and Scott Counties.

Jacksonville Mayor Andy Ezard explains the necessity of getting this application going.

“I think all the units of government have looked at the map that has been drawn up and feel comfortable about the logistics of who is in the enterprise zone. Changes can always be made later on, but these are steps that we have to make throughout the process because the application process is very detailed. I know that everyone understands the importance and potential impact of re-upping on this enterprise zone.”

Chairman of the Jacksonville Regional Economic Development Commission describes some aspects of the application process, as well as where things stand now.

“I think the county will approve the ordinance next week, and Scott County is moving forward and progressing. We have to get approval of the other taxing bodies – anything adjacent to the boundary or the perimeter of the zone – but that doesn’t have to take place until the middle of January. Right now, our priority is getting the governmental bodies to sign on to get our application formally together and kind of give it a dry run with the folks at DCEO, who advise us of anything that’s particularly off-kilter with it. Once we get that preliminary review back, we will be able to send it in, continue working with those taxing bodies, and hopefully hear something good in the middle of the year.”

According to Illinois.gov, “the Illinois Enterprise Zone Program is designed to stimulate economic growth and neighborhood revitalization in economically depressed areas of the state through state and local tax incentives, regulatory relief and improved governmental services. Businesses located or expanding in an Illinois enterprise zone may be eligible for the following state and local tax incentives.” These are processed through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, commonly shortened to DCEO.