No new business district in the Maple City

Aldermen in the Maple City have approved to take a step back with regards to establishing a second business district in the city.

Business districts can be a great economic development tool since it allows businesses to apply for reimbursement on specific economic development expenses with repayments made through the implementation of additional sales taxes within the district.

The City of Monmouth is currently looking at establishing a second Tax Increment Finance District for businesses and City Administrator Lew Steinbrecher tells WGIL that moving forward with both might be too “aggressive.”

“But, I felt that perhaps moving forward with both of those programs was [too aggressive.] In my experience in economic development throughout my career, the business development district was perhaps a little bit too large and I believe that that particular economic development tool is better suited on a project-by-project basis.”

Steinbrecher recommended to the council that the previous ordinance establishing the business district be rescinded and suspend the establishment of a large-scale business district and look for smaller projects, just as they did for the Love’s Travel Stop project.

Aldermen also approved the receiving of $389,594 in reimbursement funds from coronavirus related expenses.

The money comes from the State of Illinois as part of the CURE program.

Only eligible expenses qualify and are only eligible for financial reimbursement, with those expenses being completely related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Revenue shortfalls as a result of the pandemic are not eligible, as are labor-related expenses — unless predominately dedicated to the coronavirus response.

Reimbursement requests are evaluated and approved by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Opportunity.

The city will also be saving a hefty amount of money through the refinancing of bonds.

Aldermen approved the refinancing of municipal bonds after discovering that, because of low-interest rates currently, the city could save $450,000 over the course of the next 10 years.

The bonds are not being extended beyond the current life but are being refinanced to take advantage of the lower interest rates, which are paid from the water and sewer revenues.

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