Apr. 26, 2013
Joan Steckel, a Monsanto representative, announced the decision at the Tazewell County Board meeting Wednesday. The county supposedly was competing with offers from various states to lure the corporation’s dollars, so the County Board approved an incentive package at its February meeting.
Board Chairman David Zimmerman credited County Administrator Michael Freilinger for spearheading the effort to put together the package, but he said the credit really extends to all the organizations that cooperated. Tremont Community School District 702, for instance, had to agree to forego the increase in property tax revenue for five years with the knowledge that the short-term sacrifice would pay off in the long run, Zimmerman said.
“This deal represents economic development done the right way, because we’re taking an existing employer and adding jobs — and, as an aside, these are good jobs, they pay higher than the median wage in the county — and we’re doing it in a way that doesn’t hurt our bottom line. It actually helps our bottom line,” Zimmerman said.
The specifics of an incentive deal with Monsanto have not been worked out, but, according to information handed out to board members, an agreement should be prepared for approval at the May board meeting.
The terms, as they stand now, are that Monsanto will spend about $20 million to expand the Townline Road operations of Precision Planting — which Monsanto recently acquired — just outside Tremont, and the company will get a 100 percent abatement on the incremental increase in property value for five years. The county will be giving up about $17,000 to $70,000 in tax revenue during that time and waiving $8,760 in permit fees.
In Morton, Monsanto will build a 100,000-square-foot warehouse for about $5 million and receive a 95 percent tax abatement on the total assessed value of the property for five years.
Zimmerman said it seems at first like the county is giving up a lot, but in reality it is just not collecting anything more than it had been receiving in taxes from those properties before industrial development.
“So many times people think we’re giving away the store,” Zimmerman said. “This is money we didn’t have before.”
Tremont had put together an incentive package to lure the warehouse facility to town, too. Since Tremont had an enterprise zone, it did not need the County Board’s approval to offer tax abatements, which is why the County Board had to vote on the Morton proposal in February. It was not because the board favored one over the other, Freilinger said, but the Morton proposal needed county approval in order to offer county tax abatements.
Steckel said she did not know when construction might start on the new facilities.
In other business, the board approved more than $1 million in transportation expenditures. About $414,500 of that was for rock salt and $227,898 was to replace a bridge over a drainage ditch on Wagonseller Road near Green Valley.
More than $468,000 in summer road projects for seven townships were approved, as well. The projects consist of rehabilitating the surface of more than 25 miles of roads total in Boynton, Hittle, Hopedale, Spring Lake, Dillon, Fondulac and Morton townships and they will be funded by motor fuel tax funds.
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