McHenry School District 156 votes down Fabrik property tax abatement

McHENRY – Citing a negative financial impact, McHenry Community High School District 156 this week opted not to take part in a property tax incentive program organized to persuade a McHenry manufacturer to keep its operations local.

The school board on Monday voted down an item that would have meant abating about $7,000 in property taxes a year for a proposed expansion of Fabrik Molded Plastics into the vacant building at 1515 Miller Parkway, District 156 Superintendent Mike Roberts said.

Five board member voted against the abatement and two – Gary Kinshofer and Ronald Fischer – abstained, Roberts added.

It was a tough decision, but one ultimately weighed against the fact that other taxpayers have not gotten any such deal, he said.

"We certainly want to see Fabrik stay in the community, but the board didn't seem comfortable with abating taxes for one company, never having done that for anybody else," Roberts said.

District 156 is one of 11 taxing entities asked to consider taking part in a tax abatement deal. An employer of about 360, Fabrik has received offers to relocate operations out of state, but has been in limbo waiting to hear from both the local entities and the state, President Keith Wagner said.

News of District 156's vote was disappointing, he said.

"Absolutely it has a significant impact on the abatement discussion," Wagner said, pointing out the two school districts asked to be involved – District 156 and McHenry School District 15 – make up a large majority of the abatement deal.

According to documents from District 156, the abatement deal for the 1515 Miller Parkway property, when occupied, originally totaled about $31,400 annually for 10 years. District 156's portion was about $7,000 a year and District 15's would be the largest at roughly $14,100 a year.

The School District 15 Board has not yet voted on the item, officials said.

Another major component of the manufacturer's decision is based on the state and whether its leaders manage to pass a budget.

Last month, the state named Fabrik as one of the recipients slated to receive Illinois EDGE tax credits to expand and add jobs in McHenry. While it's a "positive political statement" of support for local expansion, at this point, that's all it is, Wagner said.

"The fact is, you can read the many paragraphs about [the program], but it all comes down to one sentence," he said. "If there's a budget and if the EDGE tax credits are part of it."

If the proposed expansion in McHenry comes to fruition, it would likely mean the addition of about 100 jobs over the next few years. However, at this point, Wagner is still waiting to see what District 15 and the state will do.

"When [local entities] are all done voting, we will then be able to put our proposals together and make a decision as to what exactly we're going to do," he said.

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