The Jefferson County Development Corporation (JCDC) is a proactive force in the county that implements strategies to attract, maintain and develop business in the community and consists as a partnership of private industry, local and state government, local and state agencies, education, cultural entities and faith-based organization. This partnership provides a resourceful and flexible environment to meet ever changing economic demands.
There has been ongoing progress in Jefferson County, with a big boost since 2009 due to more than $1 billion in expansions and new development. Collaboration between municipal and county government and the JCDC has been key to ensuring the process of development is both efficient and effective. Each of the region’s targeted markets, including manufacturing, health care, distribution, retail and hospitality, has experienced growth.
Location has been a key part of the equation for the county’s success with convenient transportation via highway, rail and air. Almost one-third of the nation’s top 50 metropolitan areas are within 500 miles of Jefferson County. Two trans-loading facilities provide access to four of the train lines that run through Jefferson County. One is located at Milano Railway Logistics in Mt. Vernon, which serves the NS, UP and Evansville-Western short-line. The other is in Bluford, operated by Bridgewell Resources and serving the CN line.
Its strategic location, history of manufacturing and solid regional workforce have attracted several companies, making Jefferson County the jobs capital of Southern Illinois. In 2016, the State of Illinois announced the approval of an Enterprise Zone to serve portions of Jefferson County, including almost all of the non-residential property in Mt. Vernon, and portions of the villages of Dix and Waltonville, replacing a zone that expired in the same year. State benefits include a utility tax credit and investment tax credit that benefit large corporations. But the major incentives are provided locally, with property tax abatement available for up to 10 years for qualified projects. A sales tax rebate on building materials is also available. There are only 67 Enterprise Zones statewide with 15 more to be awarded in 2017.
Another critical tool that has driven area development for years in Jefferson County is the tax increment finance (TIF) district. Mt. Vernon has three TIF districts; one in our downtown and two more to assist with development on the east and west sides of exits 94 and 95, serving the I-57/I-64 corridor. TIF is a versatile economic development tool that makes the annual increase in taxable value available for qualified development assistance while preserving the base value for all participating taxing jurisdictions. TIF has been responsible for providing more than 40 percent in assistance to area businesses.
With new and renovated retail, expanding manufacturing, thriving freight and logistics businesses and available incentives on more than 2,000 acres of land, Jefferson County provides tremendous value add for your next development project. We welcome you to join in our success.