Projections for the next decade and beyond are that many rural areas will face population declines with elderly residents as the fastest growing cohort. The latter will mean reductions in work force with increased numbers of retirements including long-standing business owners. Thus, rural areas may face at least three issues. Population declines will mean fewer local revenues or higher property taxes to pay for public services. An aging population may demand more age-friendly local public services. Retirements by business owners may mean business closures and require effective ways to transition them to new owners. A recent issue of Policy Profiles (Vol. 20, No. 2) discusses these issues for rural Illinois and describes programs used by other states.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently issued its Opportunity Zones Toolkit Volume 2, a guide for local leaders to use when developing and implementing economic development strategies to leverage their Opportunity Zone designations. The Toolkit builds on the roadmap established in the Opportunity Zones Toolkit Volume 1 and provides tips, resources, and best practices to assist local leaders in economic development planning. EDA worked with the Indiana University and its Kelley School of Business to create statsamerica.org/opportunity, a web portal to link Opportunity Zones with economic and demographic data that intersects EDA’s Economic Development District, University Center programs, and Revolving Loan Funds, and other work.
Low Cost Maintenance to Save Bridges, a bridge preservation training for local agencies, is an introduction to understanding the basics of bridge preservation. This program will be offered as a webinar July 8 from 10:30 a.m. to noon. The training, offered at no cost, will cover why preservation is important, what activities are available, costs, and degree of difficulty with performing the work. Examples will help participants understand the importance of incorporating these activities into their work plan. To attend, go to https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/885697605, or call 1 (571) 317-3112, Access Code: 885-697-605.
Illinois Extension will co-host Fiscal and Economic Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Illinois with the Institute of Government and Public Affairs, University of Illinois System, on Wednesday, July 15, Noon CST. During the current COVID-19 crisis, the size of the revenue loss depends on the severity and length of the pandemic and economic disruptions. Local and state expenditures will need to protect vulnerable populations from the health and economic consequences, whilst decision-makers worry about Medicaid expenditures, Illinois’ five state pension systems’ finances, and local tax collections. Federal legislation in response to the crisis will not prevent economic and fiscal damage at the state level. Research experts have released reports that address fiscal and economic impacts being created by the COVID-19 pandemic in Illinois. Despite economic data lags, the presenters have begun to analyze the implications of increased unemployment alongside state and national economic shocks. This webinar will cover the reports and current analyses and take questions from participants on how to plan and stay informed for future disruptions and recovery. Register to join the webinar on Wednesday, July 15, at Noon CST.