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Woodstock City Council raises water/sewer rates by 5%, approves incentive deal for auto dealership

Car dealership expanding; water bills set to rise

A rendering is shown of Kunes Country Auto Groups expected expansion.
A rendering is shown of Kunes Country Auto Groups expected expansion.

The Woodstock City Council on Tuesday approved an incentive deal for Kunes Country Auto Group and raised residents’ water and sewer rates by 5%.

Kunes Country bought the Benoy Motors site, 1790 S. Eastwood Drive, last year and is planning a $3.6 million expansion project. The auto group wants to expand its building from 20,660 square feet to about 27,000 square feet.

A new showroom, expanded service area and modern facade are planned, according to city documents.

Kunes projects to double or triple its sales as a result of the project and wants a cut of the increased sales tax. Woodstock has agreed to a 12-year incentive deal where Kunes could get 20% or more of its total project costs back after sales tax rebates.

Woodstock will retain the first $100,000 in sales tax paid for each year and then rebate a portion of any additional sales taxes paid, according to city documents.

“We appreciate the investment and presence in the city,” Mayor Brian Sager said. “We are tremendously grateful that Kunes Country Auto Group has decided to be a part of the community and expand their business here.”

The council on Tuesday also agreed to raise residents’ water and sewer rates by 5%.

The rate increase will apply to bills distributed on or after May 1, according to city documents. The average user pays about $133 a quarter and now can expect to pay about $139. The calculations were based on an average 2,200 cubic feet of use, according to city documents.

The water and sewer fund is expected to end fiscal 2020 on a surplus of $194,700, according to city documents.

Woodstock raised its water and sewer rates by 5% last year, and by 3% the year before.

“Despite this surplus, it is still recommended that a 5% increase be implemented to pay for the numerous water and sewer capital projects that are needed,” said Paul Christensen, assistant city manager and finance director in a memo to the council. “The most recent [capital improvement plan document] listed $11,980,000 “B” rated unfunded projects over the next 10 years.”

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