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IDA trimming its expenses in budget
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The Effingham Industrial Development Authority has put into a motion a budget for the current fiscal year that is smaller than the previous budget.

The IDA is cutting its operating expenses from $866,500 to $857,000, a 1.1 percent decrease.

“It is a conservative budget,” said IDA CEO John Henry.

While employee health insurance and salaries and wages are increasing, the IDA is cutting its line item for consultants and professional services from $110,000 to $80,000.

Non-operating expenditures are dropping from $2.1 million to $1.6 million. The IDA is reducing the Interstate 16 park improvement outlay from $1.5 million to $1.2 million and putting $367,000 in capital reserves.

The total budget, for expenses and revenues, is $5 million, down from $6.1 million for the recently completed fiscal year. The IDA is projecting $1 million in revenue from land sales, down from $2.1 million last year, and has increased operating revenues from $3.9 million to $4 million.

The IDA expects to get $3.5 million in property taxes, up from $3.3 million in FY16. The IDA is constitutionally mandated to receive 2 mills in property taxes each year.

IDA members also have approved a bid of $354,000 to Allied Utilities for the water line extension to the I-16 south tract. Allied is a subsidiary of Mill Creek Construction, which already is putting in the entrance road for the north tract and working on the PortFresh Logistics site on I-16 South.

Bids ranged from Allied’s $354,000 to $751,000.

“They are ready and willing to start,” said IDA project manager Tre Wilkins.

The IDA recently received a $400,000 grant from the state Department of Community Affairs to run a water line from the well, on the I-16 north tract, to the PortFresh Logistics site.

“This is a tremendous help,” Henry said. “It is going to help jump-start that development.”

Though heavy rains slowed work on PortFresh last month, Henry said the project is moving forward.

Henry also said that DRT, the French turpentine distiller that is taking the Governor Treutlen site in the Effingham Industrial Park, has a water and sewer agreement with the city of Springfield. It also is working on a building permit for its administration building. That way, he said, the company can begin training its employees while waiting on its approvals from the state Environmental Protection Division.

“We’ve got a lot going of stuff going in, in different corners of the county,” Henry said. “Everything else is full speed ahead.”