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Morton Times-News - Morton, IL
  • Morton EDC met job-creation goal

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  • The Morton Economic Development Council celebrated a successful 2012 and looked ahead to 2013 on Jan. 9 at its annual luncheon.
    "Our goal as always is to continue to explore ways to increase the amount of sales tax coming into the village," said Brad Braker, the new council president.
    Morton retail sales tax revenue was $3.8 million last year, beating the council's annual goal of $3.3 million. Commercial construction totaled $12.4 million, topping the annual goal of $9.4 million.
    The council played a role in bringing a dozen businesses into the village, and seven business expansions. Those efforts created 152.5 new jobs, slightly ahead of the annual goal of 150.
    Fourteen businesses received a total of $50,000 in facade grants that spurred $900,000 in capital improvements. Three businesses received micro-grants totaling $8,500.
    Money for facade grants comes from a 0.25 percent sales tax in the village's business district. The micro-grants are provided by Morton Community Bank.
    Braker said two of the council's major initiatives this year are the pursuit of a developer for an indoor water park and funding a proposed downtown plaza.
    Tom Marchal, an owner of The Iona Group technology company, received the council's Venture Award given to an entrepreneur who has made an impact on Morton and his or her company's employees through leadership, business growth and innovation.
    "I'd like to meet that guy," Marchal said to the crowd of about 200 at the Best Western Ashland House after a video about his accomplishments was shown.
    He said he was "stunned" to receive the award and thanked co-workers and family members, including several who walked into the banquet room during the video.
    Keynote speaker was Frank Knott from Maryland-based ViTAL Economy.
    He's been hired as a consultant by the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission in the commission's Focus Forward CI initiative to re-energize regional efforts to spur economic growth in Tazewell, Woodford, Peoria and Mason counties.
    "The U.S. is the only industrialized country without a country-wide economic strategy," he said. "That's why we need to work together to compete in the global marketplace."
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