Local governments approve taxpayer subsidies for Triumph Corporation
Every city in the Illinois Quad Cities has been convinced to allow an "Enterprise Zone" to be vastly expanded to include the proposed Triumph Foods pork plant.
East Moline, Moline, Silvis, Milan and Rock Island County are members of the enterprise zone. Each municipality needs to approve including the site in order for developers to receive benefits like sales-tax exemptions on buildings materials or waived building permit fees.A previous piece in the Dispatch noted,
East Moline is proposing that the Illinois Quad Cities Enterprise Zone be expanded by 253 acres, which encompasses the 116-acre plant site. Approval would bring the $135 million to $165 million plant one step closer to construction.To Thodos apparently, the ONLY issue is whether it would smell. Rather sad.
In enterprise zones, developers are eligible for sales-tax exemptions on building materials and waived building permit fees. The sales taxes the Quad-Cities would lose are unknown because the amount of building materials Triumph's contractors would buy locally is unknown.
East Moline's finance director, Jim Hughes, has said the city would lose $400,000 in building permit fees if the expansion is approved.
Opponents of the plant -- who are worried about odors, noise, water contamination, an influx of immigrants and declining property values if it's built -- have been asking the enterprise zone's members not to approve the expansion.
East Moline Mayor John Thodos said Monday he doesn't see any reason why aldermen would not approve the expansion, especially since recent print and television media reports from Triumph's St. Joseph, Mo., pork plant indicated odor wasn't an issue there.
Todays article continues...
East Moline aldermen approved an ordinance 6-0 to include the site in the zone. Ald. Luis Moreno, 3rd Ward, arrived at the council meeting after the vote was taken. But later, he and the other six aldermen voted unanimously to approve a resolution amending an intergovernmental agreement among the municipalities to include the site in the zone.A meeting on the hog plant at Porkies. How charming.
The Rock Island County board approved the expansion of the enterprise zone for the project with an 18-5 vote. Among the board members voting against the measure were board members Pat Moreno and Fred Schultz, Democrats whose districts are in Silvis.
The other no votes came from Bill Armstrong, D-Moline, Connie Mohr-Wright, D-Moline, and James Sallows, R-Port Byron.
Mr. Armstrong is the only board member who offered an explanation for his vote, saying he was concerned about the Triumph project for environmental reasons and didn't think they had been addressed.
The non-partisan Moline City Council voted 5-3 on two measures to expand the enterprise zone to include the pork plant and the additional acres and an amendment to an intergovernmental agreement that established the enterprise zone. Alds. Michael Carton, 2nd Ward; Dick Potter, 4th Ward; and Dorothy Armstrong, 7th Ward voted against the ordinance and resolution.
Aldermen did not discuss the expansion before the vote, but Ald. Potter said after the meeting he opposed it purely on economic issues. "I think a large entity like this that is offering substandard wages does not deserve taxpayer subsidies," he said.
"I am not against the project itself," Ald. Carton said after the meeting. "I am definitely not against economic development or creating jobs or building a state-of-the-art facility. I am against giving them incentives to do this. ... If they can't do this without incentives, then I don't know if they should be doing it in the first place," he said.
Three opponents of the project were given the opportunity to address the council before the vote.
One of them, Dawn Marner, East Moline, told aldermen it was time for them to stand up for what was right. She said that the company could very well afford to pay the sales tax on building materials, which will be waived in Illinois if the enterprise zone expansion goes through.
Arthur Norris, who lives near Barstow, spoke to the council about his environmental concerns. He also told aldermen that the location is wrong because it is in a wetland.
The other municipalities have approved the matter, and Silvis is the last municipality that will vote on the zone. Aldermen are scheduled to discuss the matter in its Committee of the Whole meeting March 21. A final vote would be on April 4.
Silvis 1st Ward Alds. Bob Cervantes and Kitty Lopez will moderate a town hall meeting about the pork plant at 1 p.m. March 19 at Porkies Restaurant, 130 1st Ave., Silvis. The meeting is for 1st Ward residents, but the public is invited to attend.
But seriously, isn't there a degree of schizophrenia to the argument that the Triumph plant will bring vast economic development, will be a great sucess, etc. and then at the same time arguing that almost every government entity in the entire Illinois Quad Cities need to agree to give away literally millions of dollars of tax breaks and other give-aways to the corporation in order for them to locate here?
Something doesn't quite compute in all this. I think Ald. Carton's views are certainly address the concerns. Care to give your explanation?