Originally Posted Online: Dec. 04, 2012, 10:45 pm
Last Updated: Dec. 04, 2012, 11:02 pm

Moline approves Genesis TIF

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By Dawn Neuses, dneuses@qconline.com

Genesis Health System plans to break ground this week on a wellness campus after the Moline City Council voted 5-3 on Tuesday to approve adevelopment agreement and establish a tax-increment- finance district to assist with costs.

Moline Alds. John Knaack, 1st Ward; David Parker Jr., 2nd Ward; Scott Raes, 3rd Ward; Ted Ronk, 4th Ward; and Lori Turner, 5th Ward, voted for the development agreement and the TIF. Opposed were Alds. Kevin Schoonmaker, 6th Ward; Sean Liddell, 7th Ward; and Stephanie Acri, At-Large.

Ald. Ronk said his previous vote against the TIF was because he questioned why some school district property was included in it. Hesaid he was comfortable with the TIFafter learning the school district land will be needed for right-of-way for a road and infrastructure.

The creation of the TIF freezes the assessed value of the involved properties. When Genesis develops the multiphased campus, the assessed value will increase; all new incremental property taxes collected will be captured by the city and put into a TIF account.

During the life of the TIF -- which initially can be 23 years and extended for another 12 -- the city can use the new incremental tax revenue to rebate Genesis' specific costs related to the development.

The development agreement approved on Tuesday calls for Phase I of Genesis Medical Park Moline on property Genesis owns in the 2700-2800 block of 41st Street.

Plans include an $8.3 million, 50,000-square-foot building for medical offices, pharmacy, convenient care facility and space to sell durable medical equipment.Also included is $2 million in site improvements, such as parking, landscaping, storm water detention, water and sewer infrastructure and traffic-related projects.

According to the development agreement,Genesis will upfront all costs with the city rebating a total of 15 percent of Phase I costs, up to $1.55 million, from the TIF account. Moline will rebate75 percent of the new incremental taxes each year until the maximum rebate has been paid.

In most TIFs, other affected taxing bodies do not receive any of the new property taxes until the TIF expires. During a public meeting on Sunday, however, Moline's planning and development director Ray Forsythe said there is a chance other taxing bodies will receive some of the new incremental tax revenue during the Genesis TIF. Moline will end the TIF as soon as the rebates are paid in full, he said.

Recently, Ald. Liddell said he did not believe the Genesis TIF met the "but for" requirement of a TIF -- but for TIF, the development would not be possible. Ald. Liddellsaid a Genesis executive told him construction would go ahead even if the TIF was not established.

On Sunday, however, Genesis vice president of corporate communications Ken Croken said while the building could be built without the TIF, the project as proposed would not go forward. To cut costs, he said, public amenities such as walking trails would be pulled from the plans.

Before bought by Genesis, the land was a privately owned landfill. Mr. Croken has said Genesis spent $1 million to clean up and cap the site. Its former use and remediation, however, will increase site development costs, according to Mr. Croken.

Ald. Liddell said residents have expressed frustrations at headlines that state corporate profits are historically high but employee wages are stagnant.TIFs pit taxpayers and cities against one another, he said, with corporations looking for the highest bidder.

"We do not want to give away the farm, and I know we are forced to play the game," he said. Corporations exploit TIFs, which were intended to address blight, Ald. Liddell said.

After Tuesday's meeting, Mr. Croken said he was happy the project received council approval.

"Clearly this proposal has gained support," he said. "The meeting Sunday clarified some of the issues, and it was time well spent."

Construction will start this week on the wellness campus with a tree planting; details are expected to be released later this week.

Also on Tuesday night:

-- No one spoke during a public hearing on the 2013 proposed budget.The $130.6 million budget includes a $42.3 million general fund, which is used on things such as salaries, snow removal, police and fire services.

-- Aldermen, sitting as the committee of the whole, approved a $1.9 million professional engineering services contract with Strand Associates Inc.The water pollution control division is hiring the firm to design improvements to the North Slope wastewater treatment plant. A presentation last week proposed $37.6 million in upgrades to the plant, some needed to meet Illinois EPA requirements. The contract will be paid using capital reserves.