Cal City officials skeptical about investors seeking TIF benefits

2014-03-29T18:30:00Z 2014-03-29T22:31:31Z Cal City officials skeptical about investors seeking TIF benefitsGregory Tejeda Times Correspondent
March 29, 2014 6:30 pm  • 

CALUMET CITY | Some City Council members were upset last week with a group of investors seeking financial help from the city for the demolition of an aging structure.

At issue is the Roman Adhesive business, 824 State St., which in December was sold by Roman Decorating Products LLC to Salt Lake Capital – a San Francisco-based private equity firm.

The previous owners had asked the city for financial assistance in demolishing an old structure on the property, along with the removal of asbestos. The new firm has told city officials it expects similar help in the form of $369,000 in funds from a tax increment finance district.

Sixth Ward Alderman Nick Manousopoulos and 2nd Ward Alderman Magdalena “Leni” Wosczynski both said they were concerned that they knew little about Salt Lake Capital, while 1st Ward Alderman Eric Schneider said he would be more comfortable if Salt Lake officials were to present their case personally to the City Council.

Fifth Ward Alderman Roger Munda was more blunt in his hesitancy to support the request, saying, “It is offensive to me to have people who basically say, ‘gimme, gimme, gimme,’ rather than explain to us what it is they want.”

But Mayor Michelle Markiewicz Qualkinbush said the TIF funds request was the same that past owners had made in order to help make the business more economically viable, and she said she believes Salt Lake officials would be willing to meet with the City Council in the future.

Aldermen discussed the issue during a Committee of the Whole session held last week, although they took no action either for or against the request, which will be discussed further by city officials in the future.

Roman Adhesive is not the only business making requests of the City Council.

The committee recommended a measure extending a sales tax sharing agreement with Napleton Kia, 1951 River Oaks Dr., for five more years. The current agreement is scheduled to expire Dec. 31, 2016, but will run through 2021 if the full City Council eventually approves the measure.

The auto dealer said it needs the extension to help pay for the cost of expanding its lots to allow for more cars to be put on display.

Aldermen also were supportive of the idea of granting Class 8 property tax breaks or extensions to three area businesses. Such breaks ultimately are granted by the Cook County Board, but county officials will only consider them after local officials make their recommendation.

Pro Metal Recycling, 108 Riverside Dr.; Calumet Marine, 426 Burnham Ave.; and Technotronics, 1407 Huntington Dr., were the businesses desiring the tax breaks, which can reduce by more than half the amount of local property taxes the businesses would have to pay for the next 12 years.

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