Rolling Meadows aldermen support property tax break, despite amount of upgrade costs

  • A supply chain and logistics company plans to spend $70,000 to upgrade this vacant warehouse in Rolling Meadows, but some city aldermen questioned whether that was enough to warrant their support of a property tax break.

    A supply chain and logistics company plans to spend $70,000 to upgrade this vacant warehouse in Rolling Meadows, but some city aldermen questioned whether that was enough to warrant their support of a property tax break. Courtesy of City of Rolling Meadows

 
 
Posted1/4/2022 8:00 PM

Rolling Meadows may tighten its criteria for supporting Cook County property tax breaks, after aldermen begrudgingly endorsed such an incentive for a company that only plans to spend $70,000 to upgrade an old warehouse in town.

The Class 6B classification, which is still pending approval by county commissioners, would allow the vacant building at 3876 Industrial Ave. just west of Route 53 to be assessed at lower levels for a dozen years. The tax break would pave the way for Auctus Solutions, a supply chain and logistics company that helps assemble pinball machines, to relocate its growing business from 1155 Kingsdale Road in Hoffman Estates.

 

The company plans to make $70,000 worth of improvements to the 5,000-square-foot building, which has been vacant since May 2020. Those include upgrades to painting, epoxy flooring, heating and air conditioning, electrical and floor lighting, fire systems, new tools/machinery, and racking, shelving and assembly tables.

But that dollar amount was seen as too low by some city aldermen and members of the advisory economic development committee.

"Looking at the list of items they're proposing to do with this -- racking, shelving, assembly tables, new tooling and machinery -- those are all portable items which will not stay with the property," said Alderman Nick Budmats, who represents Ward 2 where the business is proposed to move. "So in the event that this was not a long-term tenant, it seems that those items would be going away and so we're not guaranteed that that's being built into the property. So it does seem that the dollar amount that's being invested that will stay with the property is less than acceptable to me."

Budmats was the lone alderman to vote against a resolution in support of the tax break Dec. 21, though others also questioned it, and suggested reevaluating the city criteria for support of a 6B.

"I kind of questioned some of the line items as well, but to stay competitive with some of the other communities around us to hopefully bring in more businesses, until we have those criteria set up, I feel like it's not fair that we would hold these people accountable for that," Alderman Jenifer Vinezeano said in voting to support Auctus' application.

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Vinezeano, Alderman Kevin O'Brien and city business owners serve on the economic development committee, which got an overview of the county tax incentive program Monday night. But O'Brien said Tuesday there wasn't any discussion about changes to criteria.

"Clearly everyone wants to stay competitive, but it also has to be advantageous to residents because somebody's still got to cover the tax bill," O'Brien said.

Compared to some towns like Elk Grove Village -- which endorses 6B applications practically every board meeting for its sprawling business park -- Rolling Meadows only supported two such applications in 2021, two in 2020 and one in 2019.

The incentive allows property to be assessed at 10% of market value for the first decade, then 15% in the 11th year and 20% in the 12th year. Industrial property is normally assessed at 25%.

Auctus officials said without the incentive, the heavy property tax burden would make the relocation impossible.

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