HUDSON — At least one taxing body has some issues with a proposed deal that would bring up to 500 jobs to McLean County in exchange for tax breaks.
Normal Township Supervisor Sarah Grammer is not recommending that the township board, one of several bodies set to approve a property tax abatement this week, sign off on Brandt Group of Companies' plan to expand to a soon-to-be-vacant factory at 19500 N. 1425 East Road, north of Normal.
"I believe that additional information about the project is needed and additional requirements of Brandt should be obtained," she wrote in a memo to the board. "Until additional information is forthcoming from (the Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council) or Brandt, I am unable to make a favorable recommendation on this."
The project might continue without the township's abatement. The township's share of property taxes from the site is currently $5,430 per year, though that amount would change if Brandt improves the site; the total tax bill for the affected properties is currently $127,444.
"We’ll be meeting (with township officials) Wednesday or possibly Thursday to work through those concerns,” said EDC President Kyle Ham. "There could be recommendations from any of the taxing bodies to make changes."
Grammer said she hoped McLean County Unit 5's school board and the McLean County Board would wait. The Unit 5 board, after much discussion approved the deal on a 5-2 vote Monday; the County Board is expected to vote Tuesday.
The township board is set to act on the deal during a meeting 8:15 a.m. Thursday.
Grammer questioned why the agreement is missing common elements for development pacts that protect taxing bodies and help local contractors.
"There is no cap (on) property taxes that will be abated by the taxing districts. ... It is difficult to calculate the economic impact of this agreement, both for the developer and the taxing districts," she wrote. "The agreement lacks 'clawback provisions,' (so it) does not require Brandt Industries to reimburse the taxing districts should the company close or otherwise significantly diminish its operations."
Grammer noted the agreement refers to a capital investment schedule Brandt filed with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to get state incentives. Without it, the township doesn't know how how much Brandt will spend improving the property.
"The property tax abatement agreement does not 'require' or state that Brandt 'shall' make a minimum investment, only that the company 'intends' to make an investment, but without the (DCEO) documents, we don't know what the projected investment might be. Mike O'Grady, (vice president) at the EDC, said no budget materials from Brandt are available," wrote Grammer.
DCEO did not respond to requests for that documentation on Monday.
"There is no prevailing-wage nor local preference clause for construction work and remodeling included in this proposed agreement, both of which would strengthen the local economic impact," Grammer also wrote.