by Casey S. Elliott | Urbana Daily Citizen
The 2017 Farmer of the Year is Ed Funderburgh.
Funderburgh received the award alongside his family and wife, Terri, on Monday at the annual Urbana Rotary Rural Urban Night. The event was originally designed by the Urbana Rotary Club to foster understanding between farmers and city residents. The Farmer of the Year award began in 1972 to represent the entire farming community, Judge Roger Wilson said.
“I’m very humbled to be here,” Funderburgh said while accepting the award. “We (farmers) provide food, and it’s a business, but at the same time, you know you are providing the livelihood for a lot of people. It’s good to know it’s appreciated. It’s enjoyable to do.”
Wilson presented the award and background information on Funderburgh at the event. [Read the full article on UrbanaCitizen.com]
The Board of Directors for the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau wishes to announce the selection of Lydia Hess as the new Executive Director, due to the recent resignation of Sandi Arnold after her 5 years of service in the position.
Lydia was born and raised outside of St. Paris, Ohio and she has been with the chamber since May 2014. She understands the dynamics of our community, the strong bonds between families and neighbors, and the deeply instilled values that make Champaign County a great place to live, work and play. She has a deep commitment to our local communities. Lydia has held a variety of positions that have helped to develop her management style, organizational and project management skills. Over the years, Lydia has continued to build lasting relationships with community members, leaders and elected officials while building on the diversity of our community. The board has great confidence for Lydia continuing the positive business trends that have developed for Champaign County over the last 5 years, as a community let us continue this confidence.
Additionally, we would encourage the local community to visit the Chamber’s new website, it has been updated to promote our locally owned businesses and tourism. Lydia has been instrumental in partnering with locally owned Berry Digital Solutions, LLC to help develop the content for the New Champaign County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau Website www.champaignohio.com. Berry Digital Solutions, LLC focuses on building websites, social media management and digital advertising for local businesses. They currently service about 50 local small businesses across Champaign, Logan and Union Counties. Some of Berry digital’s other local successes include website development for CEPOhio.com, GloriaTheatre.com, and MyWestLiberty.com just to name a few.
This year’s Chamber of Commerce Dinner scheduled for April 28. Our dinner this year will be a great time to congratulate Lydia, network, and view our new website created by Berry Digital. Owners of Berry Digital Solutions LLC, will be available to demo the website and provide education to local business on how they can better use the Chambers resource to grow their business.
Lastly, if you are not a member of the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce, we would encourage you to take a look and consider joining. There are many exciting things happening locally that can help us all to build a stronger community. Please stop by the Chamber and join us in congratulating Lydia in her new role.
By Jeff Kelley, WPKO/WBLL Radio (Bellefontaine, Ohio)
The Champaign Economic Partnership has now been through its first full year. Several proposed building projects are set to bring additional jobs to Champaign County.
Construction of a new 30,000 square foot Memorial Health Medical Building next to Wal-Mart on Urbana’s east side is on the horizon, and a proposed new Navistar Warehouse, with construction of an over 355,000 square foot facility at 915 Phoenix Drive just off State Route 55 near Damewood Enterprises.
The Memorial Health of Union County/Hplex project will be construction of an outpatient facility, an approximately $9 million investment, adding 12 new employees ($1.4M) while retaining the current 16 employees ($1.16M) with a total payroll of $2.56 million.
The Navistar/Damewood project will be new construction of a warehouse, around a $28 million investment, adding 13 new employees ($572,000), with 27 employees ($1.26M) being transferred here from Xenia, and retention of 114 employees ($4.95M) with a total payroll of nearly $6.8 million.
Marcia Bailey is the CEP’s Economic Development Director. She said the CEP is the sole economic development agency for Champaign County. They bring together private businesses and local government to strengthen the local economy and quality of life for Champaign County residents.
The Champaign Economic Partnership (CEP) recently provided local government officials a free workshop, Tools for Successful Economic Development, about the variety of tax incentives available in Ohio to promote business development.
Chris Schmenk, of counsel for Bricker and Eckler, LLP, and former director of the Ohio Development Services Agency, led the training at the Urbana office of Pioneer Electric Cooperative. City, village, township, county and school district officials attended.
The economic development tools covered provide temporary tax exemptions in return for investing in business creation or expansion and retaining or creating jobs.
CEP Director Marcia Bailey explained, “Tax incentives vary, but they typically exempt a portion of taxes on business improvements for a specific time, after which the business pays the full amount of the tax to support local government services and infrastructure. Tax incentives are designed to encourage business and job growth, which benefits Champaign County and local citizens.”
Schmenk covered the following economic development tools:
–Enterprise Zones (EZ), areas designated by municipalities and counties, in which businesses can be offered exemptions on real and personal property taxes for establishing, expanding, renovating or occupying a facility and creating or retaining jobs.
–Community Reinvestment Areas (CRA), also established by municipalities and counties, in which real estate tax abatements may be offered for revitalizing existing business or residential properties or developing new structures.
–Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Districts, which can be established by municipalities, counties and townships. Property owners may make payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTs) that go into a TIF fund that finances public and infrastructure improvements.
–Joint Economic Development Districts (JEDD), special purpose districts created through a contract between a municipality and township to promote economic development and employment opportunities. JEDDs enable a district-wide income tax and provision of municipal services to unincorporated areas without annexation.
–Downtown Redevelopment Districts, a new economic development tool for municipalities to promote redevelopment of designated areas that must include at least one historic building. These may include property tax exemptions related to redevelopment.