SYCAMORE – A planned DeKalb County enterprise zone would offer generous property tax incentives to businesses that open up shop there.
Members of the DeKalb County Board’s Economic Development Committee approved a unified incentive policy Tuesday to address the needs of local governments and businesses that could be located in a possible enterprise zone, which county leaders are working to create in DeKalb County. The county approval of a tax abatement plan, which would supersede those already in place in individual cities, is a preliminary step in preparing for a possible zone in the county, subject to approval by the state Enterprise Zone Board.
The abatement plan calls for six years of tax discounts for businesses in the enterprise zone, with an additional five-year incentive for those within 3.5 miles of Interstate 88.
The plan would provide property tax abatements from all governments except schools starting at 90 percent of the additional tax revenue generated by new development in the enterprise zone. The tax abatement would decline by 10 percent each year until it reaches 50 percent, and then it would end, records show. School district property taxes would also be lifted on the value of the new development, but the abatement would not begin until the second year of the plan and last through a sixth year.
County administrator Gary Hanson called the abatements aggressive, and said the proposed boundaries of the enterprise zone could be released this week.
“We’re in competition with a lot of different people and businesses near the interstate,” Hanson said. “The program would hopefully attract larger businesses along the interstate.”
County leaders are in the process of explaining the enterprise zone application to many of the county’s taxing bodies, as the county is applying for a designation which would offer businesses tax breaks to move or expand within its boundaries.
County Board Chairman Jeff Metzger said the application is an opportunity for more economic development in the county and standardized tax abatements across the board would benefit the county.
“There’s less confusion when a business comes in when everyone is talking the same language,” Metzger said. “It can get really confusing when someone is looking at different plans of abatement from one town to another in the county.”
Jim Teckenbrock, Sandwich Economic Development Corporation executive director, said he’s not totally committed to the idea yet, but he’s willing to continue to look into the possibilities.
Joe Misurelli, Genoa’s administrative consultant, said he anticipates a number of commercial and industrial buildings in Genoa could benefit from an enterprise zone.
Paul Borek, DeKalb County Economic Development Corporation executive director, said he is aiming for the final draft of the application to be completed by mid-November to present to the County Board. The application will be sent in December to compete for one of 97 enterprise zone designations in the state.
“There is interest in participating in a program like this to attract jobs and expand the tax base to improve the local economy and quality of life,” Borek said. “It will make [the county] more competitive.”