New development tool is added for counties

DeWayne Bartels
Russ Crawford, chairman of the Tri-County River Valley Development Authority, right, talks to the East Peoria City Council last week. He was joined by Heartland Partnership CEO Jim McConoughey, left.

Russ Crawford will not hold it against anyone who is not familiar with the newest member of the local governmental acronym family — the TCRVDA.

The Tri-County River Valley Development Authority, also known as TCRVDA,  was created by the Illinois General Assembly and the governor in the mid-1980s to be an economic development tool helping the region recover from the severe recession of the early 1980s.

Crawford, a Tazewell County Board member and chairman of the TCRVDA, brought a brief message about the organization to the East Peoria City Council last week. It was the first stop of many he plans to make to explain the purpose of the program to civic leaders in the Tri-County Area.

The organization, with representatives from Peoria, Tazewell and Woodford counties and the cities of East Peoria, Pekin and Peoria, has the ability to issue up to $100 million in bonds for economic development purposes and is a general development tool.

The TCRVDA is one of 10 such development authorities in the state.

“The TCRVDA was enacted to help create a favorable climate for new and improved job opportunities for the region by encouraging the development of commercial and service businesses and industrial and manufacturing plants through its financing abilities,” a primer on the organization said.

“The main purpose of the development authorities within the state is to promote industrial, commercial, residential, service, transportation and recreational activities and facilities, thereby reducing the unemployment and enhancing the economic and general welfare of the state.”

Crawford explained the TCRVDA can issue bonds on behalf of businesses in which debt service is payable exclusively from the earnings of the borrower and thus act as a conduit.

He continued that there are several advantages to using TCRVDA for financing, including allowing local companies to access an additional allotment of bonding volume cap that is presently not available as well as the ability to allow projects not engaged in manufacturing to qualify for lower interest rate financing that could utilize a quasi-guarantee of the loan by the state.

In addition to issuing private activity bonds for companies engaged in manufacturing and other industries, the TCRVDA can also issue bonds for non profits, governmental agencies and authorities.

“This is exciting,” Crawford said.