A Canadian agriculture equipment manufacturer is working with local taxing bodies on an incentive package that would bring at least 300 new jobs to McLean County, officials said Saturday.
Brandt Industries would move onto a property between Normal and Hudson now occupied by Kongskilde, another agricultural company, officials said. Brandt is expected to bring 300 to 500 jobs to the area, officials said. To do so, the company is seeking a 10-year property tax abatement, said Unit 5 School Board President Jim Hayek. Unit 5 has scheduled a special meeting for 6 p.m. Monday to vote on the tax break—the first of several local taxing bodies that would have to sign off.
Hayek said he’s leaning toward supporting the agreement.
“I’m torn,” Hayek told GLT on Saturday. “We continue to be asked to make these tax concessions. We have needs (in Unit 5) that we’re having a hard time meeting. But at the same time, 300 to 500 new jobs would benefit not only Unit 5 but the community as a whole.”
Brandt is expected to make parts that attach to John Deere equipment, said Hayek. The agreement would be similar to the recent tax-break agreement local governments reached with Rivian Automotive at the former Mitsubishi Motors manufacturing plant, Hayek said. Brandt would have to meet unspecified “milestones” in order to get the property tax breaks, he said.
Full details of the agreement were not available Saturday.
McLean County Board Chairman John McIntyre declined to comment on the possible agreement Saturday. The county board will vote on the agreement Tuesday.
“There are a lot of details to work out,” McIntyre told GLT.
Heartland Community College’s board of trustees would also have to vote on the agreement, McIntyre and Hayek said. That's expected to happen Nov. 21, said Heartland spokesperson Tim Bill.
Kongskilde is downsizing and moving to another location in Bloomington, officials said. Kongskilde's grass and soil business (including the Hudson operation) were acquired by CNH Industrial earlier this year.
The Kongskilde site generates around $80,000 in property taxes for Unit 5, Hayek said. Without action, he said, that revenue could fall if Kongskilde relocates and a new occupant—like Brandt—doesn’t move in.
A message left with Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council CEO Kyle Ham on Saturday was not returned. Attempts to reach Brandt officials on Saturday were unsuccessful.
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