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Geneva Set-examine corporate tax concessions

19 September 2009 1,818 views No Comment

GENEVA — Aldermen have given tentative approval to a break in fees and property taxes for a food research and development facility to locate in the business park on the far east side.

The City Council, acting as a Committee of the Whole, this week approved the incentive for Roquette America Inc., a U.S. unit of Roquette Freres, headquartered in Lestrem, France. The company develops food additives.

The incentive will include a 50 percent rebate of the city’s building and fire review fees and a 10-year abatement of the city’s portion of the property taxes. The fee rebate will be $5,225, and the 10-year abatement will be an estimated $46,762, making the total incentive package worth about $52,000, city officials said.

Ellen Divita, Geneva’s economic development director, said the city was willing to offer the incentive because it wants to add the assessed value. Also, it gives the city an opportunity to stretch its utilities through the business park, which might spur other development there.

“That was the goal here,” Divita said.

While the city will abate its portion of the property tax for 10 years, the company will pay property taxes to other taxing bodies, such as the schools, the parks and the library.

The company, which has been in a temporary facility in the business park for a little over a year, is locating near FONA, another food additive research company, which does work with Roquette. They are at 1900 W. Averill Drive, and Roquette will be next door, facing onto Kautz Road.

In addition to giving tentative approval to the incentive, the council gave tentative approval to the site plan for the building, too.

While the research facility is considered a clean industry, Roquette has had some run-ins with pollution situations before. In 2005, it was fined $560,000 by the state of Iowa for air pollution violations at the company’s corn milling facility in Keokuk.

City officials have said they believe this facility will not pose any pollution problems because of its research nature. It will not manufacture anything there, they said.

By STEVE LORD slord@scn1.com

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