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Formulation of Economic Development Strategy, Evaluation of Potential Tax Increase Options, and Establishment of an Economic Incentives Policy
Client: The Village of Gurnee, Illinois
dashed line separator The Village of Gurnee retained Gruen Gruen + Associates (GG+A) to help the Village’s Economic Development Committee (EDC) formulate an economic development strategy and an incentives policy. GG+A was also asked to evaluate taxation options for raising revenue to fund needed infrastructure improvements.

GG+A designed and analyzed a survey of Gurnee businesses, conducted interviews with real estate owners, developers, and brokers, and conducted analysis of demographic, retail, employment and real estate market data. GG+A also reviewed the public finance and tax literature and incentives literature.

Through a series of meetings with the EDC, GG+A prepared a strategic economic development, whose elements include: (a) a summary of identified opportunities and constraints; (b) primary target industries; (c) the rationale for their selection; and (d) an identification of the primary geographic areas from which businesses can be expected to be attracted. The plan identifies the locally-implementable policies and actions that will help indigenous and complementary new businesses create and sustain their competitive advantages so they succeed, remain and expand in Gurnee and reinforce and enhance the economic base of the community.

The plan reflected the outputs of the report that GG+A prepared on Gurnee’s demographic, labor force, economic base characteristics, and housing stock characteristics; residential and nonresidential land availability and growth capacity; retail and automotive sales trends in Gurnee; and a description of the retail supply of the primary market area of which Gurnee is a part; and the results of the survey and interviews conducted.

GG+A also prepared a report which describes how to evaluate requests for development or business attraction related incentives and provides recommendations for establishing an incentives policy which was reviewed with and adopted by the EDC. GG+A prepared a separate report concerning taxation options and benefits and disadvantages of alternative taxes and a forecast of the revenue the various alternatives would generate and the likely incidence and impact of the alternatives. The report and discussion with the EDC provided an information base on which the Village Board ultimately added to raise tax revenue to fund infrastructure improvements.

GG+A principals attended regular monthly Economic Development Committee meetings during the time of the study to obtain input and gain consensus on the identified strategic action plan and recommended strategies.

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