MORRIS – The Grundy Economic Development Council is celebrating the passing of House Bill 694, which was signed into law June 30 by Gov. Bruce Rauner and will extend a portion of the GEDC’s Project Area 1 until 2021.
Nancy Ammer, the council’s CEO, said area legislators pulled together and worked to get support for the law.
“We have two [Economic Development Project Areas] in Grundy County that were established to help to mitigate the [machine and equipment] tax,” Ammer said. “The extension will cover 120 acres of the 12,000 acre EDPA 1 area where Competitive Power Ventures is building its Three Rivers Energy Center.”
Grundy County’s M&E tax is a unique taxing structure under which heavy industrial machinery and equipment are taxed as real property. The state’s other 101 counties classify machinery and equipment as personal property, which is not taxed in Illinois.
The EDPA is similar to a tax increment financing district and is designed to lessen the impact of the M&E tax.
When the first EDPA was formed in 2006, the assessed valuation was frozen within the district. As the assessed valuation within the EDPA increases, the additional property taxes are placed in a special fund to assist industries to build in the area, and to help offset the M&E tax.
EDPA 1 was set to expire about halfway through the CPV project, which Ammer said makes it difficult to make projections for the company.
“Our region is a hub for the energy industry, and the proposed CPV Three Rivers Energy Center will create hundreds of good-paying permanent and temporary jobs for people in our communities,” state Rep. Kate Cloonen, D-Kankakee, said in a news release. “House Bill 694 will help boost the construction of this plant and investment in our workers and communities.”
The 12-year extension of the 120 acres will allow CPV to make clearer projections as it builds a 1,100 megawatt combined-cycle power generation project in an unincorporated portion of Grundy County.
According to a GEDC news release, the energy facility located 50 miles southwest of Chicago represents a $1 billion private investment in Illinois infrastructure that will bring more than 500 union jobs during the 30-month construction phase, 25 well-paying jobs to operate the facility, and another 75 indirect jobs to support facility operation. The project is expected to grow the state economy by hundreds of millions of dollars, with a vast majority of that growth focused in and around Grundy County.
“This legislation will facilitate continued economic growth for the region and proves once again, our region is looked to for its leadership and expertise in energy,” state Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, said in a news release. “Reliable power is critical to a healthy economy and this project ensures we will have ample reliable power to move our economy forward. In addition, this project is great news for our labor workforce as it will provide hundreds of highly-skilled construction jobs. These labor jobs are the backbone of this major project.”