Village approves developer's ageement with Sargento

by Emmitt B. Feldner of The Review staff

ELKHART LAKE – The final piece for the village’s second tax incremental district was put in place by the Village Board Monday.

The board approved a developer’s agreement with Sargento Foods that clears the way for the start of a planned six-year, $15 million expansion of the cheese company’s Elkhart Lake facility.

“They’re guaranteeing our debt obligations for developer’s incentives, new roads and other infrastructure,” Assistant Clerk/Treasurer/ Administrator Jessica Reilly told the board.

That means, if property tax revenues on improvements within the district fall short of the village’s debt payment for work in the TIF, Sargento would pay the difference, with the village to repay the company in the future at no interest, she explained.

Reilly assured the trustees that, even with a conservative estimate of the value of Sargento’s improvements and the tax revenues they would generate, the village should be able to cover TIF debt payments easily.

“The main issue is that they’re covering our debt,” Reilly stated.

“It’s as bullet-proof as it can be,” Trustee Richard Sadiq commented.

What the village is required to do to support the Sargento project is to extend North Lake Street north of Maple Street (to run west and then north of the Sargento building), acquire a small parcel of railroad-owned land west of the Sargento building, and vacate two platted but never built streets west of the building.

“In 2013 we’re improving the road, starting with acquiring the railroad property,” Reilly outlined for the board. “By the end of next year (2014) we have to have the road done so that in 2015 Sargento can do their R&D expansion.”

Sargento will begin the first phase of the expansion, to the front of their existing building, in one week, Reilly added.

The TIF 2 district includes other areas of the village and other projects, but those would only come into play if there is other development there, Village President Alan Rudnick said.

That includes a potential residential development by Victory Builders east of State 67 and north of Maple Street.

“If Victory decides to do anything, then we would go into a developer’s agreement with them,” Rudnick told the board.

“If we do any additional projects (beyond those for Sargento) the village will have to pay for it,” Clerk/Treasurer/Administrator Jeanette Moioffer said. “You don’t have to decide to do any of those until you see sufficient tax inflow (from the district).”

“The Plan Commission worked very hard and did extra meetings in order to get this done by early June,” Rudnick said of the TIF plan and Sargento developer’s agreement. “I want to thank them for the hard work they did.”

The board approved several items for two upcoming events in the village – the Vintage Concours D’Elegance July 19 and 20, and Downtown Night Aug. 12.

For the Concours event, the board authorized erection of a tent in the lake overlook area, permission to close the walkway and a street closure and liquor dispensation.

The street closure and liquor dispensation were also approved for Downtown Night. The board agreed to make donations to both events, for Port-A-Potties for the Concours and garbage collection for Downtown Night.

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