Cavel closing could impact taxes in DeKalb, county

DeKALB - Following the indefinite shutdown of the Cavel plant last week, after a federal appeals court ruled that the U.S. Department of Agriculture could no longer provide horse meat inspectors for a fee at the plant, the Daily Chronicle examined the impact the closing would have on the city and county of DeKalb. The Cavel Plant employs 55 workers, including skilled meat cutters. &#8220Most of the employees are people who live in town, so that is an obvious effect,” said Paul Rasmussen, director of community development for DeKalb. According to Rasmussen, the area on which Cavel is built has been involved in meat processing since it was owned by the farm bureau before the Belgium-based company established the horse slaughtering facility at 108 Harvestore Drive. &#8220Since the building is only about four years old, it will find a new user but will likely end up staying in the meat-processing business,” Rasmussen said. &#8220It is also possible that Cavel can change its product.” Jim Tucker, manager of the Cavel plant, declined to comment on any changes at the plant. Tucker was quoted in the Chicago Tribune last week saying that he and his attorneys will look into the possibility of appealing the USDA's decision. Cavel was below the top 20 businesses in the DeKalb County as far as the amount of property tax that is collected and dispersed to various entities in the area. During the 2005 tax season, the horse-slaughtering plant paid out $27,897.20 in property tax to bodies within the city of DeKalb and DeKalb County, according to the county treasurer. The DeKalb County Town-ship and Road Bridge district was paid $1,154.93. DeKalb County received $2,936.86, the county forestry got $92.33 and the city of DeKalb received $2,037.78. The DeKalb Park District drew $2,001.90. DeKalb School District gained $17,128.74, and Kishwaukee College drew $1,819.47. &#8220Cavel had made a substantial contribution in funds garnered from property tax collection,” said Christine Johnson, DeKalb County treasurer. &#8220The amount of money wasn't that large in the grand scheme of things, compared to large industrial businesses in town such as Goodyear, Nestle, 3M and Target. However, the plant did produce considerable tax revenue.” Johnson pointed out that the estimated amount of money the plant will pay in property taxes for the current taxing season is about $2,100 more than last year, however the percentage of money properties will have to pay this year has not yet been confirmed by the DeKalb County Clerk's office. Rasmussen said he and Roger Hopkins, executive director of the DeKalb County Economic Development Corporation, will look into new uses for the facility. Benji Feldheim can be reached at bfeldheim@daily-chronicle.com.