In 2010, the Illinois General Assembly and then-Governor Pat Quinn approved and signed the Innovation Development & Economy Act (50 ILCS 470/1) paving the way for the City of Marion to implement STAR Bonds to fund future destination development within a defined geographic area known as the STAR Bond District. Money bonded for development costs by the City can only be paid back through the use of the incremental or new sales tax collected within the geographic area. No additional sales taxes or real estate taxes are raised to fund the development only the additional incremental sales tax collected from new sales within the area are pledged. Both the City and the State of Illinois will pledge all or a portion of the incremental sales tax collected to service the bonds that will finance the development. Patterned after the State of Kansas’ STAR Bonds legislation and subsequent developments, this development opportunity is intended to bring new visitors into Southern Illinois from consumers that will travel from 70 miles or more away.
Per the Act, the City of Marion is required to appoint a Master Developer, as defined in the Act, to be the lead developer. A previous City Council appointed Millenium Destination Development soon after the Act went into effect. The Master Developer must maintain or control 50% of the land within the STAR Bond District. After a few years of trying, the Developer and City were unable to put a plan together that would meet the requirements set forth in the Act and in 2013 the plan was abandoned by the City and the Developer.
In 2020, Mayor Absher and the Master Developer rekindled the idea and were able, in 2021, to submit a revised Project Plan that met the requirements set forth in the Act. After a feasibility study was completed by Johnson Consulting, a firm specializing in financial impact and feasibility of developments, they determined the First Project Plan submitted by Millenium was feasible. After review, the City was notified by the Illinois Department of Revenue in August 2023 that they had approved the First STAR Bond Project Plan submitted by Millenium.
Click to view the STAR Bond District Map.
Click to view the STAR Bond Project Plan #1, Feasibility Study, and the approval letter from the Illinois Department of Revenue
Click to view the Media Packet including a Press Release announcing the City Council’s approval of STAR Bond Project Plan #1, a Q & A document explaining STAR Bonds, the process required by the Act, and a map of the District. The packet also includes links to the Legislation, Project Plan #1, and the slide deck presented at the Public Hearing held on September 12, 2023.