Mercer County: A Great Place To Do Business

Business Profile

Mercer County, IL takes a networking approach, working collaboratively with the private sector, government, and in partnership with other agencies. Our region is well-matched for the following types of businesses: light industry, industrial shops, alternative energy companies, back office/call centers, and small businesses, among others. We are also focused on learning and matching correct resources with what existing and new employers need. Mercer County is in the Quad Cities MSA, which provides easy access to a laborshed of more than 530,000 and a strong multimodal logistics infrastructure.

Located in central time zone, Mercer County allows commercial businesses to communicate with customers in the United States during normal business hours. The Mississippi River is the western border of the county. Two state universities and numerous other institutions of higher learning within 80 miles of the county provide a skilled and available workforce. Our stable housing marketing, extremely low cost of living and competitive wages are attractive for both employer and employee.

Small business owners may find this resource valuable:

Start a Business

Step #1 – Start at the Beginning

Consider these when looking to start your own business –

  • demand for your product or service
  • the number of other people/businesses that offer your product or service
  • how much money you need to bring in to support your lifestyle

The following links provide information that will help you determine if you are ready to start your own business, or if you still need to figure out some of the details.

Step #2 – Prepare a Business Plan

A business plan is vital in determining the credibility of a new business. It can be used as a management tool and may be required if you decide to seek financing. The plan also demonstrates to prospective investors that your business has a well-defined course of action.

A comprehensive business plan must include the following -

  • Market research into the feasibility of the product or service.
    (Is there a demand? Is the market saturated? Who is your competition?)
  • What are your capital start-up needs? How much money do you need to get started? How much money will be coming in as a result of your efforts – be realistic!
  • Management Team Profile – including experience. Who's running the show?
  • Executive summary – including product or service description. What exactly are you going to be doing?
  • Number of individuals projected to be employed – include yourself and other management.
  • Timeline for start-up. Be realistic and reasonable.
  • Marketing plan – How are you reaching your customers?
  • Proposed ownership and/or legal structure of business. Is a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation best for your situation?
  • Principle location of the business – Does this fit your operational needs? Will this be a long-term location or will you be seeking a larger/smaller space in the future?

You can draft your own business plan, or you can use one of the following tools to help you organize your thoughts and information:

Step #3 – Find a Location

To see a list of properties and buildings available for rent, lease, or purchase, contact –

Mercer County: Better Together – Kyle McEwen, Executive Director –
(309) 574-3123 –

City of Aledo – Tarah Sipes, Economic Development Coordinator –
(309) 582-7241 ext. 213 –

Step #4 – Zoning, Plan Review, Inspections, & Permits

Once you have found a property that seems to fit your business's needs, verify that the location meets code regulations and complies with local zoning regulations for your business type. (City and County Zoning Maps and Ordinances can be linked here.)

Questions regarding zoning, permits, and inspections can be directed to:

Mercer County Zoning Enforcement Officer: Vicki Bull - - (309) 582-2138

City of Aledo Building and Zoning Official: Justin Blaser – – (309) 582-7241

Step #5 – Open for Business!

Congratulations! You've received your Certificate of Occupancy and now all you have to do is open the doors and begin your business operations.

Make contact with local business resources so that you are not alone in spreading the word about your new business!

Aledo Main Street – Dana Murphy, Executive Director –
(309) 582-2751 –

City of Aledo – Tarah Sipes, Economic Development Coordinator –
(309) 582-7241 ext. 213 –

Business Owner Tips & Helpful Hints -

Business registration is required by the State of Illinois. The Illinois Department of Revenue provides guidance on the business registration process -

The Mercer County Clerk has a form to register who will be doing business under a given name. Contact the Mercer County Clerk's office at (309) 582-7021.

Special Licensing is required for certain types of activities, like the sale of alcoholic beverages. Approval must be obtained by both the State of Illinois and the City of Aledo for liquor sales.


Income Tax Rates

  • Business Income Tax: corporations → 5.25% of net income
  • Individual Income Tax: 3.75% of net income
  • Personal Property Replacement Tax: corporations (other than S corporations) → 2.5% of net income; partnerships, trusts, S corporations → 1.5% of net income
  • Withholding (payroll): 3.75% of net income withheld from:
    • employee compensation based on the number of allowances claimed by the employee,
    • Illinois lottery winnings each time a single payment is over $1,000 for both Illinois residents and nonresidents, and
    • other gambling winnings paid to an Illinois resident

if the winnings are subject to federal income tax withholding requirements.

Source: Illinois Department of Revenue, 2016

Illinois Franchise Tax

The franchise tax is based on the share of a corporation's paid-in capital in the state of Illinois. The initial franchise tax is imposed at the beginning of the corporation's first year of doing business in the state. The initial franchise tax is assessed at the rate of 15/100 of 1 percent ($1.50 per $1,000) on the paid-in capital represented in this state. (The minimum initial franchise tax is $25.) After this intitial tax, the annual franchise tax is assessed at the rate of 1/10 of 1% ($1.00 per $1,000) for the 12-month period commencing the first day of the anniversary month of the corporation.

Source: Illinois Department of Revenue, 2014 2014.pdf

Worker's Compensation

Statewide Average Weekly Wage (SAWW) → $1,071.58

Source: Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

Unemployment Insurance

Taxable Base → First $12,960 in wages paid per employee

Employer Contribution Rate → 0.55% to 6.8%

Maximum Weekly Benefit → $595

Source: Illinois Department of Revenue

Property Tax

Mercer County collects, on average, 1.91% of a property's assessed fair market value as property tax. The average yearly property tax paid by Mercer County residents amounts to about 3.35% of their yearly income.

For more information, see this guide on the State of Illinois Property Tax System.


Sales Tax

Combined sales tax rate for Mercer County → 7.25% (Illinois rate is 6.25%, Mercer County's is 1%)


State of Illinois Incentive & Funding Programs

For information on the State of Illinois' many economic development incentives, tax credits, and loan and grant programs, visit the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) website here. The DCEO offers a Programs and Services Guide and a searchable database of available commercial and industrial sites, buildings and locations across Illinois.

To learn more about investment and job creation in Illinois, visit Intersect Illinois, and learn about the state's Loan and Financing options here.

Mercer County is located in Illinois' Northwest Region, represented by Chris Connors at Illinois DCEO. Contact Chris at (312) 520-9493 or

TIF Districts

Tax Increment Financing Districts allow for a municipality to capture incremental property taxes that occur within an established TIF district to be used for further development within the district.

How Does it Work?

A baseline is set for each property tax assessment with the TIF district. The other taxing bodies, such as the school district and County, continue to receive their share of the property tax based upon the baseline assessment. As improvements and inflation increase the value of the property, the additional property tax revenue is placed in the TIF fund for more redevelopment projects. At the end of the TIF in 2021, the full amount of the property tax revenue will go back to the taxing bodies.

Property Tax Increment Financing District – City of Aledo

The City of Aledo offers a Property Tax Incentive Program for properties within its TIF District. The District includes most of the Aledo business district along Route 17 and the entire downtown district.

TIF Funds can be used for:

  • Construction of public improvements to support a private development
  • Marketing and advertising
  • Cost of studies and surveys
  • Reimbursement of cost of financing
  • Architectural and Engineering services
  • Construction costs associated with building rehabilitation
  • 30% reimbursement of interest paid on project loans
  • Costs associated with land acquisition (site preparation, environmental remediation, purchase price)
  • Costs of job training and retraining programs


  • The TIF cannot pay for the construction of new buildings and additions
  • Applicants must have a financial stake in the proposed project; the City typically asks for a 70% private equity in the project.
  • Applicants are required to demonstrate a business plan and documented projections of increased property tax, sales tax or the creation of full time job equivalents; or a combination of two or more of these elements.

How Do I Apply?
Contact the City of Aledo for an application and further information. The City can be reached at (309) 582-7241, or via email at

Tax Increment Financing District – Village of Sherrard

The Village of Sherrard offers a Tax Increment Allocation Redevelopment Program for public and private redevelopment plan and projects. The Redevelopment Incentive Program is intended to stimulate new residential development, increase employment opportunities and the overall quality of life of the community and its residents.

TIF Funds can be used for:

  • Cost of studies, surveys, and development of plans / specifications
  • Cost of marketing sites
  • Property assembly costs
  • Costs of rehabilitation, reconstruction, repair or remodeling of existing public or private buildings, fixtures and leasehold improvements
  • New construction of private buildings
  • Construction of public works or improvements
  • Costs of job training and retraining programs, advanced vocational education or career education
  • Financing costs
  • Relocation costs

Tax Increment Financing District – Village of Viola

The Village of Viola offers a Tax Increment Allocation Redevelopment Program for public and private redevelopment plan and projects; specifically, a mix of commercial, residential, and light industrial development that affords new employment opportunities, stimulate the local economy, and improves the overall quality of life for its residents. The TIF District encompasses the Viola Industrial Park, the central business district, the park, and the lagoon.

TIF Funds can be used for:

  • Infrastructure, such as road / sidewalk repairs, utility upgrades, and water / sewer projects
  • Costs of rehabilitation of older, deteriorating, or obsolescent buildings
  • Cost of job training, workforce readiness, and other related educational programs

Revolving Loan Program (RLF)

City of Keithsburg

The Revolving Loan Program is intended to assist in the creation and expansion of new and existing industries in the City of Keithsburg and/or within the boundaries of Mercer County.

Purpose of the Keithsburg RLF Program:

  • To attract and retain businesses that provide permanent jobs
  • To strengthen the City and County's economy
  • To redevelop vacant and/or blighted land
  • To promote sales and tax generating projects
  • To provide financial assistance to eligible industry or businesses

Eligible Uses of RLF Funds:

  • Funds must be utilized for projects located within the City of Keithsburg until closeout of all facilities grants; thereafter, funds can be loaned to industries or businesses within the boundaries of Mercer County
  • Funds can be used for acquisition of land and buildings, construction, expansion, renovation, modernization, machinery and equipment; projects also include new construction of businesses or industries in Keithsburg and new construction or annexation in the County
  • At least one job must be created or retained for each $10,000 borrowed
  • At least 51% of the jobs that are created must be given to persons with low or moderate incomes
  • At least 20% of the total project financing must be obtained from other sources
  • A maximum of 45% of the total project cost can be borrowed from the RLF
  • Loans range from a minimum of $1,000 to a maximum of 95% of existing loanable RLF funds on hand; minimum interest rate is 3% for 5 years or less

How Do I Apply?

  • For an application or for more information, contact Keithsburg City Hall at (309) 374-2311 or via email at

Mercer-Muscatine County Revolving Loan Fund

The Mercer-Muscatine County Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) is a federally-capitalized loan fund that provides "gap loans" to businesses that are creating or retaining jobs in Mercer County, Illinois or Muscatine County, Iowa. Applicants must demonstrate an inability to obtain full funding through the private sector. The Mercer-Muscatine RLF may then be able to provide the needed gap funding to complete the proposed project.

The Mercer-Muscatine County RLF program is available to businesses currently located in or planning to expand in Mercer County, Illinois and Muscatine County, Iowa. Start-up businesses are also eligible for funding.

Applicants must have documented support of a municipal or county government within the target area. Applications are reviewed by an independent, seven-member Loan Administration Board. The Loan Administration Board has the final decision on any application.

  • Interest rates are very competitive, typically lower than market rates
  • Term – not to exceed ten years, based upon the use of funds
  • 10% equity injection is required
  • Job Creation - $15,500 per job (maximum RLF money per job created/retained)
  • Collateral – General Security Agreement, UCC filing
  • Personal guaranty required
  • Private Participation – at least 2:1 private to public financing required

How do I apply?

  • Contact Russell Medley, Community & Economic Development Educator, University of Illinois Extension for further information. Mr. Medley can be reached by phone at (309) 756-9978 or via email at

Veterans Resources

A Guide


As part of the Quad City Region, Mercer County is located in northwestern Illinois and is strategically centered in the middle of the major cities of the Midwest – Chicago, Minneapolis, Omaha, Kansas City & St. Louis – and within 350 miles of 34 million consumers. It is about a 25- minute drive south of the Quad-Cites which has access to four interstate highways, five US primary highways and an excellent secondary highway system that combine to provide efficient movement of goods, services and people within the region and to other markets.

Mercer County encompasses 561 square miles and is the 45th largest in land area of the 102 counties in the State of Illinois. The area consists of gently rolling uplands and streams (tributaries of the Mississippi River), with elevations ranging from 810 feet above sea level to 530 feet along the Mississippi River. Much of the land is used for agriculture with a total of 292,719 acres of farmland (81.5% of Mercer County's land area).

Highways Serving the Area

Interstates: I-74, 80, 88, and 280
Federal: US 61, 67, and 150
State: IL 17, 81, 92, and 94

Commercial Air Service

The Quad City International Airport is located within 25 miles and offers approximately 60 daily flights with one-stop service to 8 convenient hubs. The airport code is MLI. Carriers and cities served are:

American Eagle: Chicago O'Hare and Dallas/Ft. Worth
AirTran Airways: Atlanta and Orlando
Delta Connection: Atlanta
Northwest Airlink: Detroit, Memphis, and Minneapolis/St. Paul
United Express: Chicago O'Hare and Denver
Other Amenities:
On-site US Customs Port of Entry and Civil Air Patrol
Fixed Base Operator (Elliott Aviation)
Airfield – Fully instrumentized, three runway system
Runway lengths: 10,000 ft. (3,048 m), 7,000 ft. (2,134m), and 4,500 ft. (1,371); all 150 ft. (46m) wide

Municipal Air Service

The Mercer County Airport offers fuel and storage availability. Runway length: 2,480 ft. (756m); width: 45 ft. (14m).

Waterway / Barge

The Mississippi River, with its 9-foot channel and 10-month navigation season forms the western border of the County. Two barge terminals are located along the Mississippi in Mercer County.

Motor Freight Service

There is access to all interstates east-west and north-south. The Quad City MSA, just north of Mercer County, is served by over 200 motor freight carriers. With major break-bulk facilities located in the region, consistent service to and from Mercer County is assured.

Major Trucking Carriers

Mercer County Illinois cutout



Television Services

Natural Gas / Electric

MidAmerican Energy

As a strong advocate for economic development, MidAmerican Energy Company works closely with site selectors and our local community partners to recruit, retain and expand businesses of all sizes. MidAmerican provides an outstanding environment for business. Their commitment to renewable energy, environmental stewardship, corporate citizenship and customer service has led to strong relationships with communities and local governments. MidAmerican Energy is a subsidiary of MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company, a global leader in the production of energy from diversified fuel sources including geothermal, natural gas, hydroelectric, nuclear, coal and wind. MidAmerican also leads in the supply and distribution of energy in the U.S. and U.K. consumer markets, with approximately 6.9 million electricity and gas customers.

106 E 2nd Street
Davenport, IA 52801
Residential Customers: (888) 427-5632
Business Customers: (800) 329-6261
Corporate Headquarters (563) 326-7111


Based out of Decatur, Illinois AmerenIP provides both gas and electric services for the area. They have very high rates of customer satisfaction and are known for progressive and consistent service, while keeping their rates 20% below the national average. They take an active role in economic development, helping to bring new businesses to the communities they serve.

500 S. 27th Street
Decatur, IL 62521
Residential Services: (800) 755-5000
Business Services: (800) 363-6805
Corporate Headquarters: (217) 424-6600

City of Aledo's Gas Department

The City of Aledo owns and operates its own natural gas department, with approximately 35 miles of main pipeline and supply natural gas to 1700 homes and businesses.

120 North College Avenue
Aledo, IL 61231
(309) 582-7241

Solid Waste Disposal

Jackson Disposal
1311 – 35th Avenue
Seaton, IL 61476
(309) 586-4410

Millennium Waste, Inc.
13606 Knoxville Road
Milan, IL 61264
(309) 787-2303

Spencer Brothers Disposal Service
PO Box 27
New Windsor, IL 61465
(309) 667-2321

Tri-County Resource & Waste Management Council
Serving Mercer, Warren and McDonough Counties, the TCR&WMC solid waste coordinator assists communities in taking control of their solid waste issues. Presentations, hands-on projects, and solid waste curriculum for both academic and public forums are also available.

223 South Randolph
Macomb, IL 61455
(309) 837-3941
Fax (309) 836-3640

Waste Management Inc.

Waste Management Inc., the leading provider of comprehensive waste and environmental services in North America, serves Mercer County. The company is strongly committed to a foundation of financial strength, operating excellence and professionalism.

13998 E. 1400th Street
Macomb, IL 61455
(800) 963-4776
(309) 836-2728
Fax (309) 836-5831


Eagle Enterprises Recycling

Curbside programs are available in Viola, Matherville, Sherrard / Fyre Lake, with recycling dumpsters in Viola, Aledo, and Eliza. The company also offers recycling to business and rural neighborhoods with a minimum of 10 customers in a mile-radius.

510 SE Industrial Avenue
Galva Illinois 61434
(309) 932-2936
Toll Free (888) 932-2936
Fax (309) 932-8126

Tri-County Resource & Waste Management Council

Administered by the Western Illinois Regional Council, the organization assists area communities in establishing their own recycling programs, either a new program or expansion of an existing program.

223 South Randolph
Macomb, IL 61455
(309) 837-3941
Fax (309) 836-3640

Waste Management Inc.

As the largest recycler of municipal solid waste in North America, Waste Management processes more than 5.5 million tons of recyclable materials each year through its 109 material recovery facilities.

13998 E. 1400th Street
Macomb, IL 61455
(800) 963-4776
(309) 836-2728
Fax (309) 836-5831

Permitting Contacts

Mercer County
Assessor/Zoning Office
Mercer County Courthouse
100 Southeast Third Street
Aledo, IL 61231
(309) 582-7814

City of Aledo
Code Administration Department
Aledo City Hall
120 North College Avenue
Aledo, IL 61231

Available Buildings & Sites

Location One Information System (LOIS) is a searchable, multi-state database of available buildings and sites. Here you will find the latest information about building and site opportunities in Mercer County.