McHenry School District 156 reconsiders Fabrik Molded Plastics abatement

McHENRY – After initially declining to do so, the McHenry Community High School District 156 Board decided Tuesday to take part in a property tax abatement deal for Fabrik Molded Plastics, although its contribution will be less than what was originally requested.

The board in December voted down an item – five voted against and two abstained – that would have meant abating about $7,000 in property taxes a year as part of a tax incentive program designed to keep the family-owned and operated McHenry manufacturer in town.

The item was brought back Tuesday, but included only 30 percent of the originally requested abatement, which equates to a property tax savings for Fabrik of about $2,100 a year from District 156 for 10 years.

“One of the reasons we landed on that [number] – it was really close to what the city is abating,” District 156 Superintendent Mike Roberts said. “The city’s abatement is about $2,123 per year.”

Members Tim Byers, Michael Lovitsch and Dawn Bremer voted in favor, while Timothy Hying voted against the item. Gary Kinshofer and Ronald Fischer abstained, and Board President Steve Bellmore was absent.

“We want to help, but not to the extent they wanted us to,” Byers said.

He added he always prefers to abate taxes across the board, but under the current circumstances of trying to help keep a large employer in the area, the new option was reasonable.

District 156 is one of 11 taxing entities that was asked to take part in a tax abatement deal for Fabrik’s proposed $5 million expansion into a neighboring building, which could mean 100 new jobs over the next few years.

Including District 156’s decision, nine of those entities have approved an abatement for the new property, 1515 Miller Parkway.

The McHenry Public Library Board voted it down.

The requested $14,100 annual abatement from McHenry School District 15 would make up the bulk of the deal, but District 15 has not brought the item for a vote and administrators have said there has been no indication of when or whether it will appear on the agenda.

With the 30 percent abatement from District 156, no abatement from the library district, and as long as District 15 doesn’t take action on it, the abatement deal will not come close to the originally intended $31,400 a year.

Still, Tuesday’s decision was good news for Fabrik President Keith Wagner.

“Everything helps,” he said. “And it’s a community involvement issue for us more than it’s the actual dollars, and just the concern for economic development in the area is good to see.”

Beyond local factors, Wagner said he’s waiting to hear from the state, namely whether the Illinois EDGE tax credit program will be funded.

Fabrik was named a recipient of the program in November.

“The local groups have done what they can, and we’re doing what we can to be involved in this community,” Wagner said. “The state did what they said, which was come up with the EDGE tax credit for us, but they need to budget.”

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