Firefighters will sue over Elliott tax break


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Originally Posted Online: March 19, 2013, 5:12 pm
Last Updated: March 20, 2013, 12:13 pm
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By Stephen Elliott, selliott@qconline.com

The Coal Valley Fire Protection District Board will join the Moline School District in its fight to remove a new property tax exemption for Elliott Aviation, members decided Tuesday morning.

"I talked with the Moline School board people," said fire protection district attorney Derek Hancks. "They hope to have their suit filed this week. What they suggested is we consider petitioning to intervene with them as opposed to co-filing with them.

"Cost-wise, that would hold down the expected costs. We wouldn't actually be a co-plaintiff, but an interested party that would join in."

The board agreed, but set $5,000 as the maximum cost for litigation. If litigation costs more, treasurer Gerry Stahr said, the board can decide then if it wants to proceed further.

President Dave Baraks said he was concerned with the precedent set of businesses making similar requests in the future.

"It's the taxpayers who lose is what it amounts to," Mr. Baraks said. "John Deere could walk in and say, 'Hey, we don't want to pay any property taxes either.'

"It all falls back on the homeowner."

"This is the first time in 16 years I've been doing this that we've had to spend it like that," Mr. Stahr said of the litigation fees.

The Moline School District, which stands to lose $150,000 per year because of the exemption, voted last week to challenge the law in court as unconstitutional. The Coal Valley Fire Protection District is facing a $15,000 annual loss.

Two local attorneys, John Doak and W. Matthew Hays, with Katz, Huntoon and Fieweger, P.C., acting on their own behalf, said earlier this month they intend to sue Elliott Aviation if property taxes are not assessed and levied on the fixed-based operator.

Last year, Elliott pushed local legislators to pass the exemption, saying other states grant such exemptions to fixed based operators at airports and that Elliott would consider taking a planned expansion at the Quad-City International Airport elsewhere unless Illinois approved the exemption.

Gov. Pat Quinn signed HB 4110 earlier this year. The bill was sponsored by Illinois Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline, Rep. Pat Verschoore, D-Milan, and former Rep. Rich Morthland, R-Cordova.

The company said the planned expansion could bring 300-400 new jobs over the next 10 years. On March 4, Elliott announced plans to add 50 jobs within the next two years and to invest $1.8 million in improvements at its airport operations.

Elliott will receive $937,750 worth of tax credits spread over 10 years based on creating 50 jobs and investing $1.8 million, according to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.




















 




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  Today is Wednesday, Sept. 17, the 260th day of 2014. There are 105 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: We are told league merchants have paid no attention to the prohibition on selling ammunition, but continue to sell just as before the order was issued.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The Rev. R.F. Sweet, rector of Trinity Episcopal Parish, left for the East to visit his boyhood home in Boston before attending the general convention of the Episcopal Church in New York.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Dr. E.A. Anderson was named to succeed Dr. E.L. Kerns as head physician of the Modern Woodmen of America, and moved to Rock Island from Holdingford, Minn.
1939 -- 75 years ago: One week late, because of the outbreak of war, Dr. E.L. Beyer resumed his work as professor of romance languages at Augustana College. Dr. and Mrs. Beyer left Germany on the last train to the Belgian border.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Employees in Turnstyle stores in Moline and Davenport will vote Oct. 2 in an election set up by the Chicago regional office of the National Labor Relations Board. Employees will vote either for the Retail Clerk International or for no union.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Rock Island High School is considering a step to help teen moms stay in school and get their diploma. The school board is expected to vote tonight on instituting an on-site child care center.




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