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St. Charles vying for mosquito control company’s headquarters

Published: Wednesday, July 10, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

ST. CHARLES – In an effort to draw a mosquito control company to St. Charles, the city’s Planning and Development Committee on Monday approved spending up to $275,000 for a pilot incentive program designed to attract high-technology businesses and encourage the employment of local workers.

The Clarke Group is considering locating its headquarters to either St. Charles or to Ames, Iowa. If the company moved to St. Charles, it likely would be located at 675 Sidwell Court, according to meeting documents.

Lyell Clarke, CEO of the company, told aldermen Monday that if the company moved to St. Charles, it would create 71 new jobs with an average salary of $80,000, and 15 additional jobs with an average salary of $60,000 likely would be created in the first five years. The company anticipates that its total capital investment on the property will be about $4 million.

Through the pilot program, the city would reimburse the company with a maximum of $275,000 over five years. The city would pay the company if it meets a number of stipulations. In the first year, the city would pay $1,000 for the total number of jobs created with an annual salary of $50,000 or greater at the St. Charles facility. That numerical value declines each year, with the payment totaling $250 by the fifth year.

The same type of scale is applied to another stipulation to encourage the company to hire people living within St. Charles city limits, or within five miles. The incentive program also applies to paid interns who live locally.

Economic Development Director Chris Aiston said if the company chooses the St. Charles location, the city would see a return on its investment in the pilot program, “no question about it.”

He said an impact study from Northern Illinois University’s Center for Governmental Studies showed the company would generate an estimated $28.1 million annually in economic activity in the local region. An expansion that’s planned later would add 15 more jobs and would generate $7.7 annually million annually in economic activity.

“When you bring in this much employment with that level of income, it will affect the local area,” Aiston said Tuesday. “People generally shop closer to where they live. We’re trying to incentivize the company to hire and retain people locally. It will affect our local economy, and that’s what the study indicated.”

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