Jan 30, 2009

Housing Values - Zillow.com


The graph above and below were created using Zillow. This program shows aerial photographs, values, and front pictures of many of the homes in the entire United States.

The first graphic shows how housing values in the Heart of Peoria continue to go up more slowly then the rest of the Peoria Metro area.

The graphic below shows how homes in Peoria have increased in value while the United States has lost average home value.

You can check out how your home looks, and how close the Zillow estimate of your value is by going to http://www.zillow.com/ and entering your address. Also very effective when you are trying to buy or sell a home.












Federal Stimulus Bill


The House Appropriations and Ways and Means committees released an $825 billion stimulus plan entitled the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. On January 28, the House passed a stimulus package of $819 billion, forwarded to the Senate.

This is one of the largest new funding of programs in history. There is near unanimous support for a major stimulus proposal, although substantial disagreement on the types of programs.

Unemployment is at its highest level since 1982 and expected to rise.

The Bill allocates $550 billion for programs and $275 billion for changes in the tax code. Inncluded are $30 billion for highways and bridges, $12 billion for transit, $3.5 billion for new Energy Efficiency Grants, $4 billion for neighborhood stabilization, $1 billion for Community Development Block Grants, $8 billion for water infrastructure, $100 million for brownfields, and $1 billion for Amtrak and intercity passenger rail.

The bill also aims to make major investments in energy and schools with $14 billion for school repair and modernization.


Jan 28, 2009

Southern Gateway and Eagle View


Southern Gateway

The City of Peoria continues to make progress in improving its Southern Gateway and Eagle View. Read all about it at:


Energy Efficiency - City of Peoria


Through the Fall of 2008, at the direction of the City Manager, Fire Chief Kent Tomblin chaired a cross-disciplinary team of employees to look into the City’s use of natural resources and to deliver a series of recommendation that would result in savings. Chief Tomblin and his team did a remarkable job in investigating a number of options, calculating potential savings, and creating a timetable for implementation.

The result is an impressive report that outlines 20 separate recommendations: 10 involve steps to reduce electrical use, 8 involve fuel reduction and 2 are more general in nature. In addition to being split between electricity and fuel, each section is further broken down into three types of recommendations:

· Personal Behaviors: Those steps that require employees to adopt changes in their own work environment, personal approach to their jobs, and individual methodologies.

· Procedural Changes: Within the purview of management, some adjustments to operations can be made that will impact energy use.

· Policy Decisions: Through the leadership of the City Council, new policies can be adopted that will help the City conserve energy.

A full implementation schedule is included in the report’s appendices. Many of these recommendations are already being put into play by the administrative team. I can already report one early success: In late December, Public Works Director David Barber eliminated 14 of the 21 employee take-home vehicles in his department. I will update you on our progress with this and other recommendations. Those recommendations that involve policy changes, and hence your leadership, will be brought before you at Council meetings in the near future.

Wherever possible, the team attempted to assign cost savings to recommendations. The recent concerns about shortfalls in tax revenues make these tangible savings all the more important. While the success of many of the recommendations will be contingent on a combination of adopting new behaviors and general stability in prices, we are confident that we can realize significant success.


Click on the link below to read the full report.


http://cityofpeoria.googlegroups.com/web/Energy_Efficiency_Final_Report.pdf?gsc=veVv5xYAAADrHpAb1GrxwgBqqwrhbipwg-kXU5InE09W2o0GCSVgCQ


Jan 27, 2009

Congratulations PALM / TRICON / WFD / ICC

Congratulations to
Ginger Johnson
Executive Director PALM / TRICON


Ginger Johnson announced the good news. TRICON helped WFD and ICC write a US Department of Labor grant for green training. WFD was awarded the grant in partnership with TRICON and ICC. They will be transitioning training through TRICON and state grant funding to ICC. They received $1.7 million for the 3-year project!!!!!

This funding will boost our green workforce, create green jobs and possibly businesses, and help make our area more marketable as a green community! Ginger can name 3 start-up "green" consulting businesses getting started in the area right now. Green training will include certificate and degree programs at ICC (and articulation to local 4-year universities), LEED AP preparation training, BPI (Building Performance Institute) training and certification, and HERS energy rater training and certification. It may also include solar and wind training, HVAC training, etc.

This plugs in nicely to some of the goals mentioned in the Sustainability Commission report. Ginger is proud of the partnerships forged in this community. The partners came together to accomplish great things (and get $1.7 mil from the US government). There will be an official press release out soon, if not this week.

Ginger Johnson
Executive Director PALM / TRICON
124 SW Adams
Suite 315
Peoria IL 61602
Phone 309.637.0934Fax 309.637.0954
Cell 309.369.7232 gingerj@palmtricon.org



Check us out!

http://www.palmpeoria.org/

http://www.triconpeoria.org

We're Better Built!

http://www.better-built.us

http://www.betterhomeperformance.us

Jan 26, 2009

State of the City Address

11:45 a.m. at Hotel Pere Marquette


The Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce invites community leaders and area business professionals on Jan. 28, 2009, for the State of the City Address by Mayor Jim Ardis. This report to the citizens of our region gives us a behind-the-scenes look at our accomplishments in 2008 and the challenges and opportunities ahead.

Mayor Ardis will be speaking about the status of the challenges he issued to the business community in last year’s address, Peoria Area successes in '08, goals for '09 and what he's looking for from the business community.

Registration information below:

Jan 13, 2009

Enterprize Zone


The Enterprize Zone Continues to be a succesfull program for the City.

43 Businesses took advantage of EZ sales tax exemption in 2008.

The program helped create $45,280,826 of investment in the City, leading to the creation or retention of 829 jobs, according to reports filed by the 43 Businesses.

____________________

The Illinois Enterprise Zone Act took effect December 7, 1982. An Enterprise Zone is a specific area designated by the State of Illinois, in cooperation with a local government, to receive various tax incentives and other benefits to stimulate economic activity.

Both State and local incentives are available in an Enterprise Zone. Enterprise Zones are administered at the State level by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. In Peoria, it is administered by the City of Peoria Department of Economic Development.

Tax incentives and direct financial assistance can be provided to firms locating or expanding in the Zone. The Zone’s primary objective is to encourage economic development and to increase employment opportunities.


Depending on the type of development, possible incentives include:

· Loan Financing Programs > 2% below prime interest rate

· Property Tax Abatement

· Sales Tax Abatement on Building Materials (100% of the 8% sales tax is waived)

· Job Tax Credits ($500 per employee)

· Investment Tax Credit (0.5%)

· Utility Tax Credit

____________________________

More Info at:

http://peoriaenterprisezone.blogspot.com/


Business Development Fund (BDF)

The Business Development Fund (BDF) helps local businesses begin or expand and assists firms outside Peoria to relocate in Peoria. The intent of the program is to use the BDF in targeted redevelopment areas for projects that create or retain jobs, especially for low and moderate income persons.

Business Development Funds are used as secondary financing. Secondary financing is the concept that additional, subordinate financing is essential for certain projects that would not otherwise meet standard underwriting criteria. Applications are analyzed to ensure normal credit is not otherwise available on terms and conditions which would permit successful completion of the project.

The loan is not to exceed 33% of total financing package. There must be at least 10% equity participation from business. City will lend $10,000 per job created and/or retained, not to exceed $150,000. Fixed interest rate 4% below prime (but not lower than 4%). The term mirrors that of the primary lender.

More info:

http://www.ci.peoria.il.us/programs-and-services

Eligibility Requirements and Application

Business Development Fund

Peoria Area Governmental Financing Programs


_____________________

Peoria County has a similar program, administered by the EDC for G.A.P. Loans

Secondary financing, not to exceed 40% of total financing package. There must be at least 10% equity participation from business. County will lend $10,000 per job created or retained, not to exceed $150,000. Fixed interest rate 3% below prime (not lower than 3%). Term will be one year for each $15,000 loaned (7 years maximum for loans for inventory and working capital).

The City has made a total of 44 loans since the program began in 1988. Three of those loans defaulted, while the balance have repaid the loan or are in the process of repaying the loan. The program helped retain or create jobs and improve the tax base of the City.



Contact Rachael Parker at 309 494 8646 rparker@ci.peoria.il.usfor more information and assistance on all programs.

Interesting Economic News from the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank

City Council Requested: January 13, 2009

Action Requested: APPROVAL TO Enter into a contract with thE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT council and other regional partners for A REGIONAL RETAIL STUDY with a total contract amount of $51,855 for all regional partners and approximately $8,700 for the City of Peoria portion; and authorization for the city manager to execute the necessary documents.

Background: The Economic Development Council will be contracting with TESKA and Associates to conduct a regional retail study for the Peoria area including East Peoria, Morton, Pekin, Washington, Bartonville and, if approved by Council, the City of Peoria. This study would be of great assistance to our City as we strive to attract and retain retail development in specified areas of the City. Partnering with EDC and the other communities is an opportunity to have this quality retail study conducted at a very reasonable price and to have a customized marketing package to distribute to potential retailers identified through the study.

Nine sites are proposed for study at the total cost of $51,855. The cost would be approximately $5,800 per site if all the cities involved approve their study. The cost per site would be adjusted according to the number of communities participating. Staff would like to include the City of Peoria in this study and has identified the following areas to be considered:

1. Downtown to River Front
2. Rt. 6 – Knoxville
3. West Lake Shopping Center area
4. University and Sheridan area between Glen and Forrest Hill

These four sites would bring the City’s portion of the contract to approximately $23,200. In an effort to reduce the City’s costs on this study staff have identified private individuals interested in paying for the study to be conducted at 2 of the above sites and another individual who has agreed to pay for ½ of the cost of the study at one of the sites. Instead of paying the total cost for these 4 studies, the City’s cost would be approximately $8,700. These funds are available in the 2009 Economic Development budget.

The EDGE Retail Strategy Group solicited proposals through an RFP process and the responses were narrowed down to three companies. TESKA was selected through a presentation process to the Edge group.

The study will include a detailed report for each specific site. The report will provide:

· Detailed information regarding retail potential for the targeted development/redevelopment site
· Leakage analyses
· Customer profiles
· Recommendations of specific retailers that meet local customer demand
· Custom marketing packages for 20 targeted retailers

Financial Impact: This study would assist to City staff in efforts to attract and retain retail development. The successful attraction of retail development is an important component in increasing the City’s tax base.

Basic market research and demographic information assists developers to locate new business. New jobs will be created through the opening of these new establishments as well as jobs from the construction industry as the sites get remodeled or built from the ground up.

NEIGHBORHOOD CONCERNS: N/A

Impact if Approved: The City will enter into a contract with EDC for this retail study.

Impact if Denied:

Alternatives: N/A

EEO Certification Number: N/A

RELATIONSHIP TO THE COMPREHENSIVE PLAN: This proposed expansion assists in achieving both the vision and goals of the Comprehensive Plan as follows: Chapter 5
ECONOMICS--VISION: A HEALTHY, THRIVING ECONOMY; and GOAL: A.1. Create a favorable business climate. A1.1. Continue to identify financial incentives to attract and retain businesses.


Department Director
Craig Hullinger, ED Director

City Council Action Requested: January 13, 2008

Action Requested:

COUNCIL AUTHORIZATION TO REQUEST A GRANT FROM THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ADMINISTRATION (eda) FOR: OPTION a - increase of $250,000 in funding for the City of Peoria Revolving loan fund; and/or option B: $50,000 match for a regional revolving loan fund.

Background: The City of Peoria has the opportunity to request additional funds for its Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) through the U.S. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

ADMINISTRATION (EDA) grant process. Two requests, which are described below, are being brought before the Council for consideration.

OPTION A: The City would request a grant of $250,000 which would require a match of $250,000 according to the EDA guidelines. Staff would propose matching this request with funds that currently exist in the RLF. Utilizing RLF funds for the match would not restrict the use of the funds.

OPTION B: The Economic Development Council (EDC) has proposed creating a Regional RLF that would provide an additional layer of funding for businesses. Not only would a business be able to receive up to $150,000 from the City RLF and $150,000 from the County RLF, but would also be eligible for an amount from the Regional RLF. Under this program each community who desires to utilize the regional RLF would be required to contribute a match for the grant. The City would propose using $50,000 from our RLF for this match. The match for the Regional RLF grant request would no longer be in the City’s RLF, but would be transferred to the EDC Regional loan program.

Currently the balance of the City’s RLF is a little over $400,000, providing adequate funding for both matches. These matches would be required only in the event that the EDA approved a grant for either program. If no grant is approved, the City RLF will remain the same and the Regional RLF would not be created.

The City’s RLF is based upon job creation thereby creating jobs for the citizens of Peoria and surrounding communities. The RLF low interest loan has also proven to be a great incentive for new or existing businesses as they locate or expand within our City.

STAFF Recommendation: Apply for both Option A & B

Financial Impact: To date the City’s RLF has assisted 40 businesses in their efforts to move to or expand in our City. An increase in the RLF funds would allow the City to assist more businesses, create more jobs and bring increased revenue to the City. There is not additional financial charge to the City for the additional Federal funding.

NEIGHBORHOOD CONCERNS: N/A

Impact if Approved: If approved Staff will proceed with the request for EDA grant funds for these programs.

Impact if Denied: Continue to operate the RLF Program without the additional Federal funding.

Alternatives: N/A

EEO Certification Number: N/A

RELATIONSHIP TO THE COMPREHENSIVE PLAN: This proposed expansion assists in achieving both the vision and goals of the Comprehensive Plan as follows: Chapter 5 ECONOMICS--VISION: A HEALTHY, THRIVING ECONOMY; and GOAL: A.1. Create a favorable business climate. A1.1. Continue to identify financial incentives to attract and retain businesses.


Department Director
Director of Economic Development

Jan 9, 2009


Excellent summary of Illinois Economic Development Programs on the link below, written by notable Economic Development Expert (And my wife) Beth Ruyle.



Beth and I in "uniform" to the right.

Jan 8, 2009


Welcome to Jeff Smith P.E., our newour new city engineer. He replaces Gene Hewitt PE.

Jan 7, 2009

Mesirow Financial Economic News

Some interesting economic news from Mesirow Financial.
My Executive Summary
It will get worse before it gets better.

The EDC has a lot of great information about the region on their web page.

Check it out at:





Economic Climate Report - Retail
When you hear the national numbers it sounds like the sky is falling and stores should be closing up shop all over the country. But they're not! We know national sales were not as great this holiday season as years past but people are still shopping.Click below to access the full story.
Read Jim McConoughey's views on the Economy at:

Retail Study


The cities of the Peoria metro area are working with the Economic Development Council for Central Illinois and the EDC Retail Strategy Group to conduct a Retail Study for selected sites. The City of Peoria proposes to study four sites.
The study will provide the information needed for successful retail attraction efforts including detailed information regarding retail potential for each targeted development/ redevelopment site, leakage analyses, customer profiles, recommendations of specific retailers that meet local customer demand, and prepare custom marketing packages for targeted retailers.


Read all about it at:




HUB Zone


HUB Zone (Historically Underutilized Business Zone) is a nice program to help small business in the Heart of Peoria get contracts with the federal government and major companies like CAT.

Read about it at:



Jan 2, 2009

Programs to help start or expand a business


The City of Peoria, and the County, region, State, and Federal governments have a variety of programs to help attract, start, or expand business in our region. Give us call or send us an email if you would like to discuss using some of these programs.

Contact the City of Peoria Economic Development Department at at 309 494 8640 or hullingerc@gmail.com for more information and assistance on all programs.

Peoria Area Governmental Financing Programs

City of Peoria, Department of Economic Development

Business Development Fund Secondary financing, not to exceed 33% of total financing package. Theremust be at least 10% equity participation from business. City will lend $10,000 per job created and/or retained, not to exceed $150,000. Fixed interest rate 4% below prime (but not lower than 4%). The term mirrors that of the primary lender.




More info: http://www.ci.peoria.il.us/programs-and-services

Peoria County G.A.P. Loans

Secondary financing, not to exceed 40% of total financing package. There must be at least 10% equity participation from business. County will lend $10,000 per job created or retained, not to exceed $150,000. Fixed interest rate 3% below prime (not lower than 3%). Term will be one year for each $15,000 loaned (7 years maximum for loans for inventory and working capital).




Illinois Finance Authority Participation Loan




IFA will work with prime lender to purchase up to 50% ($1M max) of a loan for purchase of land or buildings, construction or renovation of buildings, and acquisition of machinery and equipment. Interest rate is 2% below the lender's rate, leading to a blended rate (lender may take up to 1% as servicing fee). 10 year maximum term (if lender term is longer, balloon payment required after 10 years). More info: www.il-fa.com/products/ind_part.html.




Industrial Revenue Bonds




Very large loans (must be greater that $1.5M) for significant manufacturing and industrial projects, used to acquire fixed assets. Can be issued by the City of Peoria. Can finance up to 100% of the total project costs at below-prime rates (fixed or variable terms). Call the City of Peoria's Department of Economic Development at (309) 494-8640 or get more info at www.il-fa.com/products/ind_irb.html.




Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity




Enterprise Zone Participation Loan




Works much like the IFA's Participation Loan, but is limited to businesses expanding or locating in an Enterprise Zone. Funds can be used for purchase and installation of machinery and equipment, working capital, purchase of land, construction or renovation of buildings. Cannot be used for debt refinancing or contingency. For DCEO's portion of the loan, the interest rate on variable-rate loans is 2% below indexed rate. Fixed and adjustable rates are similar to US Treasury notes, plus 0-1%. Borrower cannot employ more than 500 FTEs. More info: www.illinoisbiz.biz/dceo/Bureaus/Business_Development/Loan+Programs/ezp-plp.htm.




Revolving Line of Credit




Allows businesses to borrow the amount of money needed to meet the demand and to repay the loan from the sales revenues. Line of credit established for between $10K and $750K, but not more that 25% of total project. Attractive interest rates, but all review and terms set by lead lender. Must not employ more than 500 FTEs. Three year maximum term. More info: http://www.blogger.com/www.illinoisbiz.biz/dceo/Bureaus/Business_Development/Loan+Programs/rloc.htm .




Manufacturing Modernization Loan




Secondary financing of between $10K and $750K for manufacturers who are retooling, upgrading machinery, or expanding. Must constitute 25% or less of total financing package. Sub-prime rates, maximum term of 10 years. More info: www.illinoisbiz.biz/dceo/Bureaus/Business_Development/Loan+Programs/mmlp.htm.




Illinois State Treasurer State Treasurer's Economic Program




The Treasurer will deposit up to $25K into the business' bank at below market rates for each full-time employee created or retained. That bank, in turn, can lend those funds to the business at below prevailing rates for a term of between 1 and 5 years. More info: www.state.il.us/treas/Programs/step.htm.




Economic Recovery Loan Program




Similar to the STEP program directly above, but the limit to be deposited is up to $50K per job created or retained. More info: www.state.il.us/treas/Programs/ER.htm.




US Small Business Administration SBA 504 Loan




Provides businesses with long-term, fixed-rate financing for major fixed assets, such as land and buildings, not to exceed 40% of total financing package. Requires 10% equity participation by business. For most businesses, the loan is $50,000 per job created, up to $1.5M. For "small manufacturers", the loan can be $100,000 per job created, up to $4M. Interest rate tied to 5- and 10-year US Treasury issues. Term is 10 or 20 years. More info: www.sba.gov/financing/sbaloan/cdc504.html.




7(a) Loan Loan guaranty for prime lender. All financing is handled through the lender, with partial guaranty by SBA in case of failure to pay. Applicants must meet certain qualification set out by SBA. Maximum loan is $2M (75% guaranty). Terms: maximum of 25 years for real estate and equipment, 7 years for working capital. Interest rates may be fixed or variable and may not exceed the prime rate by a certain number of points (depends on size and term). More info: www.sba.gov/financing/sbaloan/7a.html




Tax Increment Financing and Enterprise Zone IncentivesTax Increment Financings http://peoriatif.blogspot.com/