December 19, 2005

How E.M. Alderman stand on Triumph plant

A piece in the Dispatch/Argus reports that a straw poll of East Moline aldermen conducted late Sunday "indicates a majority are in favor of Triumph Foods LLC's proposal to build a pork-processing plant on the city's northeast side."

It's not a solid majority however, with 4 in favor, two on the fence, one of whom wants to wait and see what the Triumph plant in St. Joseph, MO is like once completed in January, and one alderman who could not be reached.

A pivotal meeting is scheduled for tonight.
Aldermen are scheduled to vote tonight on a redevelopment agreement with the company that would include $8 million in bond financing for a sewage pre-treatment plant and $7 million for water- and sewer-line extensions.

The redevelopment agreement requires aldermen to create a tax-increment finance district encompassing the proposed plant site before or on May 1, 2006. Money from the TIF district would be used to repay the bonds.

In a TIF district, any increase in taxes due to the increased property value created by development can be used for public infrastructure or rebates to developers.

"Right now with all the information that I've gotten (through) listening to the public hearings, I am going to vote for it," said Ald. Helen Heiland, 1st Ward. "I think it's a good thing for the city and the residents, and I think it will be a good thing of the whole Quad-Cities in a few years."

Ald. Luis Puentes, 2nd Ward, said "it's a good deal for the area," especially for the 1,000 jobs Triumph said it would potentially offer at at an average wage of $11.75 per hour. "I hope that young people will have an opportunity to get some of the jobs there."

While he sympathizes with opponents' concerns about possible odor problems and said he doesn't "want to live in a place that smells," Ald. Puentes said with hundreds of jobs lost through the closing of the CNH Global Case plant in East Moline, the area needs the economic development and jobs. "We need something to come here and start spurring growth."

Ald. Rick Meredith, 5th Ward, said the opponents who are arguing the plant may emit foul odors are "absolutely" confusing it with a hog confinement operation.

"This is not a confinement," he said. "The most (the hogs) are going to be confined is two to three hours."

If the processing plant is approved and spurs development, and if East Moline is successful in developing at the demolished CNH Case plant, "we should never have to raise (property) taxes," Ald. Meredith said.

"We understand people's concerns," said Ald. Gary Kelley, 6th Ward, "but in reality we have to do what's in the best interest of East Moline."

Alds. Carol Doose, 4th Ward, and Gary Westbrook, 7th Ward, said they were still considering the issue.

Ald. Doose said she thinks she'll gain a full picture of the proposed plant once aldermen take a tour of a Triumph plant being built in St. Joseph.

She also said she wanted to remind people that aldermen don't have the final say on the issue. The Rock Island County Board also has to approve the plans, she said, as will other taxing bodies such as schools that will be impacted by a TIF district.

Ald. Louis Moreno, 3rd Ward, couldn't be reached for comment Sunday.

The East Moline City Council is scheduled to vote tonight on a redevelopment agreement with Triumph Foods that would allow the company to build a pork processing plant on the city's northeast side.
They are meeting at United Township High School cafeteria, 1275 Avenue of the Cities, East Moline at 6:30 p.m. if you want to attend.

TIF districts are a problem for school districts, as explained in this article:
Created by cities and villages, TIF districts are formed to help revitalize blighted areas. In a TIF, any increase in taxes due to the increased property value created by development -- the increment -- can be used by cities or villages for public infrastructure or rebates to developers.

Other taxing bodies, though, like schools and fire protection districts, continue to receive taxes based on the property's value before the TIF was enacted.


At 12/19/2005 4:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dope -

Unrelated post:

Jim Beals just filed as a Republican candidate for the 36th district

At 12/19/2005 5:28 PM, Blogger Local Dem said...

I don't know this Luis Puentes, but he seems a little out of touch to me. I don't know any young people that would want to work in a place like this. We need to create some white collar jobs to keep the young (and educated) folks in the area.

At 12/19/2005 5:32 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Anon above... Who? Give us a link.

And Local Dem... I agree. I wouldn't want my son or daughter working there.

Factory jobs were soul-deadening enough, but this is worse. It might traumatize them for life.

As far as jobs go, this is a step in the wrong direction.

At 12/19/2005 6:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

here's a link:

No idea who this guy is.

At 12/19/2005 9:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

did a little digging. James Beals ran an unsuccessful write in campaign for moline alderman against Dick Potter this year. He has an issue paper posted at the chamber of commerce:

At 12/19/2005 11:20 PM, Blogger highxlr8r said...

I went to the meeting tonight, and I have to say this is a diificult issue to confront. I've waffled on it a bit, but on the whole I think I would have to support it, although I am glad to not be in the position to make that decision. As a Democrat, I am both concerned about the environmental implications of building the plant, but I am also sympathetic to the job creation and labor aspect.

After the meeting tonight, I decided I was comfortable that pollution issues, and odor issues may not be as extreme as I had first thought. Also, I am heartened that labor supports the plant, and that perhaps workers may have the opportunity to decide whether to unionize, which is certainly a good thing. Plus, there is probably a chance that a PLA could be signed for the construction itself.

This was a good first step, and I am encouraged that further study need to, and will, be done in order to ensure the safety of the environment. So, long story short, I came down in support, with the right to change my mind of course if further information presents itself.

All that aside, however, I still disapprove of the way the deal seems to have been handled at first. I appreciate the efforts of local officials to schedule information meetings and such, but I never like to see informational meetings after the minds of many of these officials has been made up. Before I get yelled at, I am not putting all officials in this category, but I'm sure there are some who decided on this long ago, without worrying about what the public's resposne is going to be.

Anyway, this post is getting a bit long, and it's late, so again, just my opinion, and I know others will disapprove and disagree, but the Dope has provided a place for reasonable discussion and I'm taking the opportunity.


At 12/20/2005 1:22 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Thank you highxlr8r. Your interesting comment on the meeting and your thoughts on the matter are illuminating and appreciated.

At 12/20/2005 9:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think high8 represents the view of most people in our area. Including the final part where he or she supports the pork processing plant!

At 12/20/2005 4:43 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...


At 12/28/2005 2:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wait until the snooty Deere crowd gets a whiff of that smell.....

Their lovely TPC course will be lost to the smell I can only describe as someone's sewer backing up or somthing that has been dead a long long time..... ala Joslin experiences close and personal and firsthand folks!

The Deere crowd who worships Bob Imler may be ready to railroad him right back to Texas where he belongs.


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