Benton Evening News - Benton, IL
  • Bradley talks budget deficit at town meeting at West City

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  • State Rep. John Bradley discussed Illinois’ budget deficit during Monday’s town hall meeting in West City.
    As chair of the revenue and finance committee in the Illinois General Assembly, Bradley said he continues to work to tweek the budget.
    “If he can keep doing what he is doing, Rep. Bradley said the state could be out of the financial hole in five years,” West City Mayor Charles Cockrum said. “He said the state is $7 billion in the hole this year and expects that number to climb to $8 billion next year.”
    Bradley also discussed changes to the Illinois Enterprise Zone Act, Cockrum said. Gov. Pat Quinn amended the Act on Aug. 7 by signing Senate Bill 3616 into law, he said.
    According to, many of the oldest enterprise zones will expire in 2014 at the end of their 30-year life cycle.
    The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity has created 97 enterprise zones since 1984, according to the website.
    Bradley said the Senate bill was one of several proposed bills calling for reform, extension and expansion of the economic development incentive.
    “The bills that did not move forward proposed a variety of changes to the Enterprise Zone Act, including extending the lifespan of a zone from 30 to 55 years and restricting the number of new zones that could be created,” he said. “SB3616 passed the General Assembly unanimously and includes provisions to extend the enterprise zone program.”
    Bradley said under Public Act 97-0905, DCEO could grant Enterprise Zone extensions to 2016.
    “Beginning with zones expiring in 2016, zones would need to reapply for Enterprise Zone designation under the bill’s provisions,” he said.
    Bradley said zones designated under the enrolled bill would have a 15-year term, with a review by the new Enterprise Zone Board at 13 years to determine whether the zone designation should be extended for an additional 10 years.
    According to the website, areas applying for designation would have to meet more specific criteria regarding the socio-economic condition of the area. The law provides a point system that DCEO and a new Enterprise Zone Board would utilize to assist in making designations.
    The law also requires additional reporting requirements. Businesses in enterprise zones, as well as those designated as high-impact businesses not located in enterprise zones but eligible to receive similar tax benefits must report annually on the total tax benefits received by incentive category, job creation, job retention and capital investment.
    The law also eliminates three of the tax incentives provided to businesses in enterprise zones including the income tax credit of $500 for each hire that is economically disadvantaged or a dislocated worker, the income tax exemption for dividends paid by corporations, and the deduction for interest income from loans secured by eligible investment credit property.
    Page 2 of 2 - Businesses in enterprise zones can still take advantage of the five remaining state tax incentives, as well as any local tax incentives offered.
    Cockrum said the extension of enterprise zones means job creation.
    “This means the existing enterprise zone board can apply to extend the time limit or dissolve the enterprise zone,” he said. “Thenew law also allows other municipalities to apply and reap the benefits.”
    Cockrum said Village Board members authorized village attorney Ron Giacone to amend a residency requirement ordinance.
    “The requirement was limited to the Benton High School district, which is about a five-mile radius,” he said. “Village Board members want to amend the ordinance to a 10-mile radius for employees.
    “This way, we can branch out where we were limited before,” Cockrum said.
    He said members also set Oct. 9 and 10 as fall-clean up days for West City residents. Cockrum said yard waste, tree limbs, construction materials and tires are prohibited from the cleanup.
    “Board members also placed Sonya Veteto on the West City Fire Department as a volunteer firefighter and hired David Dolderer as a part-time street department laborer,” Cockrum said.
    He said board members approved an agreement with Lawrence A. Lipe & Associates.
    “We are in the process of getting plans for a feasibility study to determine the water capacity of our new water tower,” Cockrum said. “It will cost West City $9,100 to get the project going.”
    He said board members also approved a motion to obtain new employee health insurance rates.
    “Board member Ron House is working to get quotes because employees are not happy with the current insurance coverage,” Cockrum said. “Employees are having problems getting their medications filled and some are being automatically denied. That puts a hardship on employees.
    “We want to find something comparable with what we already have but it might cost a bit more,” he said.
    Cockrum said board members also approved a petition to appoint Franklin County Clerk Dave Dobill as a deputy collector. “The petition filing period for the April 9, 2013 election is Dec. 17 to 24,” he said. “Because Dec. 24 is Christmas Eve, we had to appoint Dave Dobill as deputy collector so petitions can be filed on that date.”
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