Originally Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2012, 9:29 pm
Last Updated: Nov. 20, 2012, 12:14 am

East Moline hires law firm to re-create TIF for River Eagle project

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By Anthony Watt awatt@qconline.com

EAST MOLINE — Aldermen voted Monday and approved hiring a law firm to help re-create a tax-increment financing district for a project planned at the former Case-New Holland site.

In 2010, the River Eagle group — composed of Mike VanDeHeede, Matt Stern, Dan Murphy and state Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline — bought 132 acres of the site for about $1.5 million with plans to develop into it into Fountainhead of the Quad Cities, a mixed business and residential district.

In late 2011, the city created a TIF for the $200 million project. But earlier this year, it was learned the tax assessment was not adjusted to reflect the property's purchase price, remaining at an older and much higher valuation of about $6 million. To fix the issue, the original TIF must be erased and replaced.

At Monday night's meeting, aldermen unanimously approved hiring Schiff Hardin to provide legal counsel to the city as it creates a new TIF district. Ald. Helen Heiland, 1st ward, was not present.The firm's services, covered by River Eagle, could cost up to $15,000, said city administrator Cole O'Donnell.

Aldermen also unanimously approved a $49,800 contract with EnviroNET to address contamination near the former East Moline city landfill. Although there is little or no public danger, recent groundwater tests indicated the contamination levels were too high.

EnviroNET will inspect the site, determine the cause of the problem and help find a solution.

Acting as the committee of the whole, aldermen also unanimously approved a special meeting at 6 p.m. Nov. 26 to begin budget discussions.

City finance director Megan Petersen said the initial levy proposed for East Moline's portion of the property tax levy indicates a decrease in residents' bills.The owner of a $100,000 home paid about $710 on East Moline's portion of the levy for 2011, she said. This year, it would be $705.

A capital plan introduced earlier this month includes about $9.3 million in potential needs, including new police and fire radios, a replacement water tower and a new emergency generator. At Monday night's meeting, aldermen received an updated version totaling $31,852,500, due to projects added by the city's engineering department.

Reports on those projects were not ready when the initial proposal was introduced, Mr. O'Donnell said. Aldermen requested more time to review the plan when it was first presented, he said, giving staff time to update it.