The red area indicates the proposed Godfrey enterprise zone.
Facing an end-of-year deadline, the Village Board approved an ordinance establishing an enterprise zone at its Dec. 15 meeting, its last meeting of the year.
The Jersey/Greene County Intermodal Enterprise Zone, composed of sections of Godfrey, Jerseyville, Carrollton, White Hall, Roodhouse, Grafton and Brighton, would open the door to bringing new business to the area by making the zone more attractive through tax incentives, low-interest financing and more.
Dating back the 1970s, enterprise zones allow different government levels, as well as the private sector, to partner in order to transition areas with potential into service sectors as a way to combat changing industries, relocated companies and cutbacks.
Unemployment numbers, business closings in recent years, and a potential for substantial employment opportunities make this enterprise zone eligible for approval by the state.
The creation of the zone allows the counties and municipalities to adopt certain retail sales tax exemption incentives, along with other incentives designed to promote economic growth, create and retain jobs and reduce unemployment. As the area in question has shown a disproportionate number of residents have lived within the poverty level, along with the national recession and a loss of business due to shifting of industries, the zone would help attract private-sector investments.
“The incentives are great, and in all honesty, it has little impact or no impact on the taxpayers and residents of the community,” Economic Development and Market Brand Director William Catalano said. “It is a very competitive process to get an enterprise zone, and communities have to team up together and have a large enough area to even be considered to receive it.”
The municipality mayors and county chairpersons will serve on the enterprise zone board. The zoning board administrator will come from the city of Jerseyville and costs for that administrator will only come from Jerseyville.
The board then approved an intergovernmental agreement between the city of Jerseyville, the city of Grafton, the village of Brighton, the city of White Hall, the city of Carrollton, the city of Roodhouse and the village of Godfrey in addition to Jersey and Greene counties. The agreement paves the way for the state to consider the enterprise zone application, which could take several months.
If approved by the state, the enterprise zone would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2017, and last through Dec. 31, 2031. Catalano said the zone can always be amended to add space, but has a limitation of 15 square miles.