Minutes of the Regular Meeting of the Gurnee Economic Development Committee - October 18, 2012

Village of Gurnee
Economic Development Committee Minutes
October 18, 2012


The meeting was held in Conference Room A, Gurnee Village Hall, 325 N. O’Plaine Road and called to order at 6:00 P.M.

Members Present: Trustee Stephen Park, Rob Elbrecht, Bill Finn, Tom Henderson, Brad Jenks, Roneida Martin, Karen Thorstenson, Dick Welton

Members Absent: Randy Ebertowski

Other Officials Present: David Ziegler, Community Development Director; Ryan Mentkowski, Associate Planner

1. Approval of the September 20, 2012 Meeting Minutes
Mr. Jenks made a motion, seconded by Mr. Henderson, to approve the September 20, 2012 meeting minutes, as presented.

All voted ‘aye’. Motion carried.

2. Education Item: Presentation by Joseph Pilewski, Director and Midwest Practice Leader of the Business Incentive Advisory Practice at Duff & Phelps, LLC in Chicago on business incentives as viewed from the private sector; the role of state and local incentives in the business decision-making process; and the potential incentive tools, which the Village of Gurnee may consider to support business investment.

Mr. Joe Pilewski from Duff & Phelps made a presentation regarding Business Incentives and Site selection from the perspective of the private sector side of the table.  Mr. Pilewski’s presentation included an overview of the Gurnee economic profile (no village property tax; balanced economy; enviable residential areas; professionally managed municipality with a focus on continuous improvement; engaged citizens with relevant expertise), objectives (retain retail, amusement, and hospitality business; low municipal tax burden and control of local government expenditures; maintenance of infrastructure; retention and attraction of high quality manufacturing and commercial enterprises to the Village’s industrial areas), the economic tools that have been used in the past (no property tax; no municipal tax on gas and electricity consumption; sales tax rebates; hotel rebates; bonds; Special Service area financing) and that may be available to Gurnee (property tax abatement; tax incremental financing; home rule funded low-interest participation loan program; workforce development assistance; state tax credits (EDGE program); state/federal infrastructure grants; building permit/fee waivers; energy conservation rebates – ComEd). 

Mr. Pilewski also compared the economic tools in competing states, including Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin, as well as case studies (broadly generalized for privacy reasons) as to why companies chose one (1) site over another site. 

Mr. Pilewski talked about lessons learned and things the Village of Gurnee could discuss that may help an Economic Development Strategy. The lessons learned included the following topics:

  • Site selection decision almost always consider relative geographic costs (taxes, utilities, real estate cost, workers compensation cost); however, cost differential do not always drive the decision.
  • Manufacturers, which utilize skilled labor, will tend to focus workforce recruitment, screening, and initial/on-going training.
  • Long-term partnerships with state and local government can pay dividends in the form of future investment and job creation.
  • Border counties (e.g. Lake County) should consider competition in the neighboring state (e.g. Kenosha County) when developing incentive programs and economic development policies.

Mr. Pilewski lastly talked about the thoughts for the Village of Gurnee’s Economic Development strategy, included the following topics:

  • Retail hospitality/Amusement industry – continue on current path. Solicit feedback from major employers regarding how the Village could enhance its partnership.
  • Develop a presentation for prospective manufacturers/R&D/commercial enterprises regarding the benefits of locating and remaining within Gurnee’s Tri-State industrial park. Partner with state, county, and private sector resources to develop the overall value proposition and presentation to prospective companies.  (e.g. Utilize the location of Abbott Labs as an incentive to getting and/or keeping manufacturers in the business parks.)
  • Consider the applicability of tax increment financing to targeted commercial/industrial areas of the Village, which could benefit from redevelopment.
  • Consider developing a low-interest loan program to attract unique retail or restaurant establishments, which would build upon and enhance Gurnee’s reputation as a destination.

No formal action taken.

3. Education Item: Presentation of the comparison of local school districts by EDC member Thorstenson.

Based upon limited time available, this item was tabled until the November EDC meeting.

4. Old Business:  Economic Development Committee Recommended Policies (based on the previously defined Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats).

Ms. Martin made a motion, seconded by Mr. Jenks, to bring the Economic Development Committee’s six (6) recommended economic development policies to the Village Board for their review and direction as follows:

  1. Create an Economic Development Strategy:
  2. Determine Economic Development focus and provide required resources (including staffing and financial support) to create a clear vision of Gurnee as an economically strong, balanced community.
  3. Create a Business Attraction/Retention policy.
  4. Determine Infrastructure/Capital needs and identify where investment in business opportunities exist to improve and diversify the Village’s sources of funding.
  5. Assess redevelopment, new revenue sources and a modified land use plan to ensure the Village will create a transition from a “new-growth” to a stable, balanced community.
  6. Streamline the Zoning and Permitting process and create a unified “Customer Service Orientation”.
  7. Coordinate the efforts of the Village of Gurnee staff, the Economic Development Committee, Gurnee Chamber of Commerce, Lake County Chamber of Commerce, Lake County Visitors Bureau, and Lake County Partners to eliminate any duplication.

All voted ‘aye’.

Motion carried 8-0.

5. Old Business:  Discussion related to the maps provided of the Village of Gurnee Boundaries and the areas of vacant land of the Village of Gurnee

Based upon limited time available, this item was tabled until the November EDC meeting.

6. New Business

No new business items were discussed.

7. Chairman Comments

The Chairman made no formal comments as part of this item.

8. Adjournment

Trustee Park asked for motion to adjourn.

Mr. Ebertowski made a motion, seconded by Mr. Welton, to adjourn.

All voted ‘aye’. Motion carried.

The Meeting was adjourned at 7:40 P.M.

Respectfully Submitted:
Ryan Mentkowski
Economic Development Committee Secretary

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