DIXON – Three more cities are looking to join the Lee-Ogle enterprise zone and make development more appealing to businesses.
The process has started to add Ashton, Oregon and Mount Morris to the zone, which serves as an economic development tool to draw in new businesses or expand existing ones through incentives like sales tax exemptions for building materials and a 50 percent property tax abatement for 6 years.
Communities throughout the state compete for a limited number of zones, and the Lee-Ogle zone went into effect at the beginning of last year with partnering governments being Dixon, Rochelle, Lee and Ogle counties.
Amboy was added to that list and takes up about 78 acres of the zone footprint, which can stretch 9,600 acres.
Each government needs to sign off on zone changes before the paperwork goes to the state. The Dixon City Council plans to vote on adding the three cities Monday, and the Lee County Board will go over them Tuesday.
Mount Morris would take up 193 acres, Oregon about 92 acres and Ashton 66 acres.
That would leave about 561 acres of unallocated zone space that could be saved for other cities or developments that crop up.
Andy Shaw, enterprise zone and GIS mapping specialist at Blackhawk Hills Regional Council, serves as the administrator for the zone, and the governments share the $67,000 cost.
Ashton would contribute $600 annually, Mount Morris would pay $1,750, and Oregon’s share would be $830.