Unit 5 School Board votes to approve tax break for new company - WEEK.com: Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

Unit 5 School Board votes to approve tax break for new company

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Interest from an international manufacturer, Brandt Industries, is eyeing Central Illinois for its new U.S. home. 

Brandt is a Canadian company and they want to bring their first U.S manufacturing site to McLean County.

The company's plan is to buy property between Normal and Hudson that would otherwise become idle and lower the property value in the area.

The company is promising 500 jobs over the course of the next decade, but in order to do that, they're requesting $600,000 in property tax breaks.

The investment  will only come to fruition if seven local taxing bodies approves the tax breaks and Monday, the largest of those taxing bodies made a decision.

Unit 5 School District, the first and largest taxing body, decided during a special school board meeting Monday at 6pm, to approve Brandt's tax abatement agreement.

Brandt Industries President Shaun Semple, attended the meeting via telephone, members of the McLean County Board along with the general public were present as well.

A 5 to 2 vote from the school board in favor of the plan passed, which means the district loses around $80,000 tax dollars a year.

Despite, voting yes, several of the school board members expressed wanting Brandt to join the Bloomington-Normal community, but not at the expense of possibly compromising educational resources for their students. 

Unit 5 Superintendent Mark Daniel, echoed their board's sentiments, but presented ideas to those in attendance that the long term opportunities of the company coming would be greater than the short term challenges.

Throughout the meeting, the school board probed Semple, asking how he planned to help grow the McLean County community, what specific plans he had in place to benefit the students in the district - since his business would affect their tax dollars -  along with a host of other questions that would address their first priority - their students. 

Semple explained that he has connections to Central Illinois and doesn't wish to plop his company here and take off.

He added that Brandt industries is happy to fulfill the requirements of the abatement agreement - some of which include donating equipment,  offering mentoring programs for students, training programs for possible employees, and ultimately offering 50% of its annual tax break in community related service.

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