Summary of the concerns:
- The agreement is directed toward
an unnamed company. If this project should not go through, could
those funds be used toward any other project that is not approved?
- How can the county legally
finance the project as a government entity?
- Could this set the county up for
a discrimination lawsuit from another business?
- What are the financial risks and
how will they be kept to a minimum?
- Should taxpayers' money be used
- Who is Froehlich, who pays him,
and will he be billing Logan County for something?
Responses to concerns:
1. Board member George
Mitchell asked this question.
Simply put, county coordinator Dewey
Colter said, "No, this is not open-ended. This will go away if it
does not go through."
2. Logan County State's Attorney Tim
Huyett said that there is newer (1990) state statute that allows
government to invest in industrial property. It says that they can
sell, lease, rent or otherwise dispose of property for that purpose.
It is the "otherwise dispose of" terminology that is unclear. There
is nothing to say that you can (or cannot) give it away.
It appears as though there is an expectation that something of value
be given back, he said.
He concluded by saying that he was
not giving a position on the matter. He said that he thought
everyone there wanted to see the project move forward.
Colter said that this is why
Froehlich was consulted. Froehlich is who recommended the debt
certificates. He is an expert in this field who has been used by
many government entities in the state of Illinois.
Contrary to common belief, there is
some sales tax collected on wholesale with this type of business,
Colter said. The county and city will receive sales tax dollars back
from the company, which is in both wholesale and retail sales. Based
on current company information that has been validated by the state,
the first year's sales tax return to the county is projected at
$58,000. And it is expected to increase by half again the following
Furthermore, payroll is projected to
be at $36 million in six years.
And impact figures indicate that
hundreds of millions will turn over within the community.
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3. John Stewart had with him an
example of another government entity from another state caught in a
lawsuit where one company felt it was not offered incentives
comparable to another company.
This is the only known situation
regarding that type of litigation and it has not come to an end.
This is a new territory that governments have become more involved
in. Huyett couldn't speculate on what might happen.
4. It was clarified that this is an
agreement to purchase the land. It is intended to make a clear
statement to the company that we are willing to work with them and
that we want them here. Should they decide to come here, the
contracts will be drawn up with clauses that protect the county's
"This process is to say, 'Yes, we
will work with you,'" Colter said.
5. John Stewart said that he had
been strongly opposed to this at first because it is using
taxpayers' money to pay for land and then give it away. But, he
said, "I will be voting for it because if that's how it has to be,
that's how it has to be."
6. Kurt Froehlich is an attorney who
specializes in the field of municipal financing and has provided
unpaid and appreciated advice.
If the project goes through and he
were to handle the debt certificates, he would be paid $3,500 to
handle the city's certificates and $3,500 to handle the county's
Dick Logan was the only member in
disagreement in approving the land purchase. He made a comparative
statement to a measure the county voted on earlier in the meeting.
They decided to accept a new health insurance that cost more but not
to raise the employee cap to cover the difference. The difference
per employee for 12 months would amount to an additional $37,812
cost per year to the county. He was the only one to vote to raise
He was the last to vote on the land
purchase, and with 11 yeses pledged he said, "No. You just gave away
$45,000 to complete strangers."
Both Logan County and city of
Lincoln officials have worked aggressively with the Lincoln and
Logan County Development Partnership to bring the company to
Lincoln. Partnership director Rob Orr, who has facilitated the
effort, said that he hopes to hear from the company within a few