Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Commissioners reconfigure Dry Systems’ tax abatement

The county commissioners met for a regularly scheduled meeting Monday in which it was decided to rescind the action taken on May 7 concerning an abatement provided to Dry Systems Technologies for five years and a new motion was made to allow for a ten-year abatement.

The commissioners passed the new resolution providing Dry Systems a ten-year abatement on an expansion that will allow for 100 percent abatement the first five years and an incremental decrease in the abatement the following five.

Dry Systems senior director Terry McDonald spoke before the commissioners asking them to reconsider the previous abatement allowance saying it skewed the budget in a way that could sink the Vienna branch of the company.

McDonald said the budget relied on the numbers provided by a previous ten-year abatement and that he was not aware Johnson County did not have a tax abatement program that codified what a company looking to invest in the county could come to depend upon.

“The people we employ make a good living, have good benefits and we support the community and we support other businesses,” said McDonald. “We make it a priority to do business (with Johnson County businesses) if we can.”

McDonald said in the next five years the company plans to continue to expand and the probability of new jobs is dependent upon expansions that could only come under a budget relying on a more favorable abatement. McDonald was joined by more than a handful of Johnson County residents employed by Dry Systems, who he said were concerned with the future of the company.

“I know how important you are (to the community) and I’m willing to do whatever is necessary to work with you,” said commissioner Jeff Mears.

Commissioner Phil Stewart made a motion to rescind his May 7 motion and Mears seconded it allowing the Dry Systems tax abatement proposal to be back on the agenda. Mears made a motion to provide an abatement with a previously provided 10-year structure and Stewart seconded it. Mears said he wanted to go on record stating that such an abatement is not a loss of tax dollars to Johnson County as was suggested earlier in the discussion, because without the business there would be no money either way.

McDonald re-iterated an earlier open invitation to both the commissioners and the community for those wishing to visit the Vienna branch of Dry Systems Technologies to learn more of what they are about. According to its website, “Dry Systems Technologies (DST) is a world leader in the design, manufacture and installation of diesel emissions control systems used for mining and construction equipment.

Previously in the meeting the commissioners tabled a vote on a coroner mutual aid agreement and upon returning to the vote approved the agreement. The agreement was created by Southern Illinois county coroners and in the event of an emergency, such as the recent Harrisburg tornado, would allow for coroners to operate in another county with the same rights, responsibilities and protections of those counties they are requested to help in.

The commissioners also approved the minutes of the May 7 meeting, the highway bills in the amount of $148,557.08 and the county bills in the amount of $92,363.98.

The next regularly scheduled county commissioners meeting is set for June 4 at 3:30 p.m.

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