How was QCREDA created?
Like the other ten regional economic development authorities in Illinois, QCREDA was created by an act of the General Assembly as a Special District (70 ILCS 510/). Web Link: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=863&ChapterID=15
What can QCREDA do?
Primarily QCREDA is designed to be a double tax-exempt, low interest, financing tool for development and redevelopment in the region. As a development authority, QCREDA is authorized – with the written approval of the Governor – to issue bonds and notes. The outstanding amount of bonds shall not to exceed $250 million in taxable and tax-exempt bonds for the purpose of developing, constructing, acquiring or improving properties or facilities for businesses, and some other public and not-for-profit entities, locating or expanding within the territorial jurisdiction of the Authority. Given the limitations that municipalities and businesses often face in obtaining financing, QCREDA provides a new way to obtain low interest financing.
What kinds of financial instruments might QCREDA have available to it?
Depending upon the project, QCREDA can issue: industrial revenue bonds for manufacturing firms, senior housing bond for developers; taxable revenue bonds; local government bonds; non-profit bonds and environmental bonds. The financial instruments that an authority such as QCREDA chooses to use is largely limited only by its enabling statute and the policies established by its board, and does not take away any authority of a participating county or municipality to issue bonds on their own. QCREDA simply provides another financing tool to help communities in the region.
Wouldn’t this financing only be of use in more urban or industrial areas?
No! And that’s one of the advantages of QCREDA. Many of the existing programs at the state and federal levels do not take into account the special financing needs of more rural and less industrial areas. QCREDA can. Rural counties often call upon similar authorities in their regions to help with project financing. They have, for example, aided in the construction of a local YMCA, provided funds for the expansion of a local hospital, as well as many other projects that are not specific to urban or industrial areas. Most of the regional authorities established in Illinois serve more rural areas as these are the areas that have the greatest need for low cost project financing.
How is QCREDA governed?
By state statute QCREDA is governed by a 16-member board. There are 14 public members of the board: six members appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the State Senate, and one member from each of the nine counties in the QCREDA region, appointed by the county board chairpersons of the respective counties. The final member of the QCREDA board is the Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, or designee, who serves as an ex officio member.
What kinds of people might a county appoint to the QCREDA Board as public members?
That is up to the county, but the statute says that public members shall be persons of recognized ability and experience in one or more of the following areas: economic development, finance, banking, industrial development, state or local government, commercial agriculture, small business management, real estate development, community development, venture finance, organized labor, or civic or community organization.
Who handles the day to day operation of QCREDA?
The day-to-day operations are handled by the Executive Director. The Executive Director is the chief administrative and operational officer of QCREDA and directs and supervises its administrative affairs and general management. The Executive Director presents a project for approval by the board of directors, then QCREDA engages attorneys, underwriters and other professionals and consultants as needed to issue the bonds.
How does QCREDA pay for its operations?
QCREDA has no taxing power, generally receives no appropriations from the state for operations. QCREDA operates solely based upon fees charged to issue bonds. The fees charged are much less than the benefit the borrower receives in a lower rate of interest.
So what must a county government pay to get involved?
Nothing. QCREDA is operationally self supporting. All that a county needs to do to become involved is to make its appointment to the QCREDA board and have that person commit to attend scheduled board meetings.