By Joshua Keeran - Urbana Daily Citizen
The local Tax Incentive Review Council (TIRC) voted Thursday to recommend local governments continue with all current enterprise zone, Community Reinvestment Area (CRA) and Tax Incentive Fund (TIF) agreements.
In economically depressed areas of the city and county where business growth is encouraged, TIRC members unanimously recommended local government leaders continue their enterprise zone agreements with KTH Parts Industries, the American Pan Company and the Ultra-met Company.
Marcia Bailey, economic development director for the Champaign Economic Partnership, presided over the meeting and said the deal with KTH, 1111 N. state Route 235 in St. Paris, is a 100 percent tax abatement for 10 years that expired Dec. 31, 2016, but will continue through through the current tax collection period. The company agreed to commit at least $3.07 million in real property over the 10-year period and retain 92 jobs.
To date, Bailey said, KTH has invested $4.2 million in real property and kept the promised 92 positions.
As for taxes abated thus far as a result of the agreement, Champaign County Auditor Karen Bailey reported the total stands at $1,299,616.
Located at 417 E. Water St. in Urbana, the American Pan Company agreed to a 10-year, 75 percent tax abatement (through Dec. 1, 2022) in return for the creation of 33 jobs, retention of 154 positions, and a real property investment of $1.9 million.
Marcia Bailey said the company has created 55 jobs, retained 154 and invested $1.9 million. To date, $158,729 in taxes have been abated.
Ultra-met’s enterprise zone agreement involves the company, located at 120 Fyffe St. in Urbana, receiving a 75 percent abatement for 10 years in return for investments of $510,000 in real property and $1.5 million in personal property, as well as the creation of 10 jobs and retention of 30 positions.
The company has met the requirements, having invested the pledged amounts, created 11 new jobs, and retained 30 positions.
The amount of taxes abated to date under the agreement total $27,283.
Community Reinvestment Area contracts
The three active CRA agreements – tax exemption deals benefiting property owners who renovate existing or construct new buildings – currently on the books within the county received positive feedback from TIRC members, who unanimously voted to recommend the contracts remain in place.
The longest running of the three CRA agreements involves the 10-unit T-hangar at Grimes Field in Urbana. Since 2002, $78,749 in taxes have been abated in a deal in which Gerald Shiffer, the original applicant, received a 50 percent tax abatement for 15 years on the hangar in return for an investment of $325,000 in real property, the creation of one job, and the retention of another job.
Marcia Bailey said at the present date, $330,000 has been invested, one job was created, and one position retained.
A CRA agreement granting White’s Service Center, 1325 N. Main St., Urbana, a 50 percent abatement for 10 years has been on the books since 2010, but the business has yet to request the tax abatement be activated, Bailey said.
If the business were to ask for the abatement to take effect, it would need to meet its obligations. These include a $250,000 investment in real property, the creation of one job, and the retention of one job.
The most recent CRA agreement to have gone into effect involves three buildings at KTH. In return for a 100 percent tax abatement for 15 years, the St.Paris-based company has committed to retain 815 employees, create 20 new jobs, and invest $6.7 million.
To date, Marcia Bailey said, the company has retained 815 jobs, created 20, and invested $6.79 million.
The amount of taxes abated since the tax exemption took effect in 2015 stands at $44,682.
During the meeting, a KTH representative reported the company, as of the end of February, employs 1,139 individuals.
Tax Incentive Fund
TIRC members unanimously agreed that a 10-year TIF agreement used by the city of Urbana to help pay for improvements on Scioto Street through 2021 should continue.
The six properties involved in the agreement have paid the following amounts into the fund since 2012 (listed by name of the business or businesses currently operating on the property): Aaron Rents ($44,199), Clark Station ($17,607), DaVita Midwest Urbana Dialysis/Mercy Memorial Wound Care Center ($44,480), McDonald’s ($48,393), Ohio Auto Loan Services ($22,814) and Family Dentistry/Wright-Patt Credit Union/Mary Rutan Hospital ($35,835).
Champaign County employers and job seekers will have an easier experience posting and finding local jobs, thanks to a new Champaign County-exclusive job site, Community JobConnect.
In addition to simplifying local job posting and searching, the free-to-use site will help inform local schools and students about the range of local career opportunities – so students will be able to prepare for life after graduation.
By connecting local employers, job seekers, schools and students, Community JobConnect will strengthen Champaign County’s economic development efforts, says Marcia Bailey, director of the Champaign Economic Partnership (CEP).
“Community JobConnect further emphasizes our message that Champaign County is open for business,” she said. She added that the job site is the product of efforts by local organizations – the CEP Board of Directors, the Champaign County Manufacturers Human Resources Council, local schools and other partners – to coordinate economic development and workforce development initiatives.
“Community JobConnect makes the connection between economic and workforce development. Businesses choose to establish or expand in communities that have the available workforce to help them succeed and grow,” she said. “Community JobConnect is a clear sign that Champaign County is ready to help businesses find the employees they need.”
Set to launch March 18th, Community JobConnect will be featured on the home page of the CEP website, CEPOhio.com.
While Community JobConnect is for all types of businesses and jobs, the site was created in answer to concerns expressed in meetings of human resources managers and executives of Champaign County manufacturing companies.
How Community JobConnect was Created
“One of the chief concerns shared at these meetings is how to attract and retain local talent for manufacturing jobs, which are often difficult to fill,” explained Jill O’Neal, human resources manager at WEIDMANN Electrical Technology, Inc. in Urbana.
O’Neal approached Ashlie Starkey, human resources information systems (HRIS) and compliance manager at WEIDMANN, about the need for a local job site.
Starkey told her, “I think we can make this on our own,” and began developing Community JobConnect. Starkey and O’Neal created the site on their own time, which they donated.
How to Use Community JobConnect
Employers and job seekers can set up free accounts on Community JobConnect to access all the site’s interactive features, Bailey said.
Set up a profile for their business with logo
Post part- and full-time job listings and descriptions
Post internships, summer jobs and job shadowing opportunities to help students prepare for the workforce in Champaign County – and stay in Champaign County after graduation.
Accept applications and resumes from registered job seekers who reply to job listings
Search the job site database for uploaded resumes that match their needs
Job seekers can:
Set up a profile
Search the site for jobs that meet their interests and qualifications
Sign up to receive notifications of new jobs that meet their criteria
Apply online for jobs posted on the site
Upload their resume to submit with online applications
Use Community JobConnect’s resume creation tool if they don’t already have a resume
Bailey said that Community JobConnect will make finding local jobs much easier, as it will include only Champaign County job listings. “This gives job seekers immediate access to jobs available in our local community.”
Jobs posted on Community JobConnect will also appear on the Community JobConnect Facebook page and on the site’s Twitter account, @CommunityJobCon.
The CEP will host public meetings over the next few weeks to train employers and job seekers on how to use this new community job board. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call the CEP office at (937) 653-7200.
By Katherine Collins - Springfield News-Sun Staff Writer
A $1.3 million project to upgrade a stretch of road on one of the major arteries in Champaign County should improve safety for pedestrians and prevent flooding, Urbana city leaders said.
A contractor has been chosen to fill in sidewalk gaps, add streetlights, a crosswalk, storm drains, gutters and curbs on U.S. 36 East between Berwick Drive and South Dugan Road. The project will be funded with grant money from state and federal agencies, Urbana City Engineer Tyler Bumbalough said, as well as matching funds from the city and Urbana Twp.
The road is the main east-west highway in Champaign County and gets a lot of commercial traffic, he said, with at least 10,000 cars passing through each day.
“The speed limits are 35 out there and it is quick and it’s busy,” Bumbalough said.
The stretch of road to be addressed has both the Champaign Family YMCA and Champaign County Public Library, he said — two locations people often want to walk to.
Dirt trails have been worn along the road where people have frequently walked.
“Pedestrians, I do see them crossing once in a while and they’re risking their lives doing so,” Bumbalough said.
“We want to make it more walkable and safer for them.”
The YMCA has taken safety precautions because of the lack of sidewalks, Champaign Family YMCA CEO Paul Waldsmith said.
“We don’t have children enrolled in programs walking out onto 36 at this point in time,” he said.
[Read the full article at SpringfieldNewsSun.com]
By Joshua Keeran - Urbana Daily Citizen
The Urbana Planning Commission on Monday granted final site plan approval for construction of a 355,319-square-foot warehousing facility in the Urbana Industrial Park on the city’s south side.
Limited construction at the Phoenix Drive site began earlier this month after Planning Commission members approved Damewood Enterprises Limited’s preliminary site plan in January. While Damewood Enterprises will own the facility, it will be leased to Navistar to be used as a distribution center.
Monday’s final site plan approval is contingent on Damewood Enterprises and Dublin Building Systems – the project’s building contractor – addressing the few remaining comments the city’s Technical Review Committee asked be revisited and incorporated into the final site plan drawings. [Read the full article on UrbanaCitizen.com]