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Incentive for Taylor Motor, TIF amendments OK'd by Council

By Curtis Winston
Contributing Writer
Posted on 9/12/2018, 12:52 PM

MARION -- A sales-tax rebate scheme for Taylor Motor Company got its final approval on Monday night from the Marion City Council, which also gave its nod to changes in three tax-increment financing districts.

As initially approved by the council at its meeting on Aug. 13, the deal gives Taylor Motor a rebate of one-eighth of 1 percent of its annual municipal sales tax, estimated at around $8,500 a year, for the next five years.

In return, the Taylors are fixing a collapsed drainage tile that runs under the western half of their car lot. Work has already begun at the Auto Credit of Southern Illinois location, with huge new pipes, gravel and other material.

Mayor Anthony Rinella said the incentive agreement paves the way for the Taylors to sell more cars in Marion, rather than Auto Credit lots in other towns.

"He had to move over half his cars off that lot because of the degradation," Rinella said. "He can move cars back to Marion that he had to move to other places."

Commissioner Angelo Hightower, who voted against the initial deal over concerns of the precedent it set, asked if there had been other instances of the city offering incentives to businesses to make repairs or improve their lots.

"When was the last time we subsidized a business?"

Rinella cited an example of the city building the road for the Volkswagen dealership, "and as they sold cars, they paid the city back."

City Administrator Gail West and other officials cited other examples, including TIF districts and business-improvement loans through the now-defunct state revolving loan fund.

The vote was 4-1, with Hightower against Rinella and commissioners Doug Patton, Jim Webb and John Goss.

Apart from the sales-tax incentive for Taylor Motors, West presented three ordinances related to tax-increment financing districts, two of which deal with expansion plans by Crisp Container and Pepsi Mid-America.

The council gave its final approval to the first amendment to the redevelopment agreement of TIF District VIII, the "Crisp Container TIF," which went through vetting by the State Legislature and Gov. Bruce Rauner, extending it to 2031. Around $4.8 million in incentives will go to Crisp Container as it goes through a planned $15-million plant expansion, West said.

For TIF District V, "the Pepsi TIF," the council approved the first amendment to a redevelopment plan that would see around $4.6 million in TIF funds used for walkways, roadways other infrastructure improvements at the Pepsi Mid-America plant in conjunction with the under-construction extension of Halfway Road, south of West Main Street. Plans are for Pepsi Mid-America to add 50 jobs as part of the project, West noted.

And in TIF District I, West sought a redevelopment agreement with Rendleman Management for its work in turning a former warehouse into a retail location, Floorscapes, at 1409 N. Carbon St. Ordinarily, the TIF agreement would call for businesses to get a 70-percent rebate on property taxes assessed after the improvements are made but because TIF I is set to expire in 2022, West suggested an 80/20 split on the increase on the equalized assessed valuation.