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D-428 wants more property tax abatement information from DeKalb

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

DeKALB – DeKalb School District 428 wants to be better informed about companies that qualify for property tax abatements in the city of DeKalb.

At their school board meeting Tuesday, members of the school board discussed the extension of an intergovernmental property tax abatement program, which already is in place to provide tax incentives for large businesses that come to DeKalb. The board agreed to wait to take action on the extension until an amendment can be added by the district, which provides the board with increased oversight.

“Right now, the city informs us through a letter that company x, y and z qualifies, and now you need to start the abatement procedures,” Assistant Superintendent of Business and Finance Andrea Gorla said. “We want to put a little more teeth in it, and have the city formally come to the school board, tell us about the company, make certain that they’ve met each piece of criteria and then the board will take action on it.”

The city and the school district last renewed their tax abatement program in 2010, but the three-year agreement concludes at the end of the year. The new proposal makes no other changes to the program or its incentives and runs through 2016.

As the agreement stands, industrial, logistic and highly skilled, research-oriented companies that create at least 20 full-time jobs and meet a set of conditions outlined in the agreement can save on property taxes for the first five years that they do business in DeKalb. After that, taxing bodies like the school district hope to see the fruits of the agreement come their way.

“The intergovernmental property tax abatement is a significant tool that we use to attract business and industry to the city of DeKalb,” said Paul Borek, the executive director of the DeKalb County Economic Develop Corporation. “The agreement leverages new investment and generates considerable new tax revenue for bodies like the school district.”

Previously, 3M and Target have taken advantage of the program.

The board reached a consensus to give Gorla the go-ahead to have attorneys draft the new amendment to the agreement, and will take action on the renewal when it’s ready.

“This puts it more on the front end with a little more transparency,” Gorla said.

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