Niles trustees postpone vote on tax incentive request
Updated: February 18, 2013 1:16AM
NILES — Niles Mayor Robert Callero expressed disappointment in village trustees who voted Dec. 11 to table a resolution in support of granting a commercial printing business a Cook County Class 6B incentive to reduce the company’s property-tax bill.
Gustafson Group, LLC opened a business in Niles 25 years ago at 7350 Croname Rd., two doors down from the vacant building they want to purchase and renovate.
The 6B program is used as an incentive to occupy vacant property by offering a tax break to the business interested in purchasing the property.
John Gustafson, one of the brothers who own the company, told trustees that he wants to purchase the property at 7430 N. Croname Rd. by the end of the month for tax reasons and said he and his brother really need the 6B status.
The property at 7430 N. Croname has been vacant since January 2008. The growing Gustafson Group has consolidated a lot of their operations into a 160,000 square-foot building at 6701 W. Oakton St. The company owns three buildings in Niles that do not currently have a 6B status.
Gustafson Group has grown to 131 employees and the proposal is for the new building to add 10 full-time positions and 35 part-time jobs.
Niles Trustee Chris Hanusiak said that the village needs to put some kind of parameters in place before granting businesses a 6B incentive.
Trustee Andrew Przybylo felt strongly that the board should grant the tax break to Gustafson, saying this is a family business that has been in Niles for many years.
Hanusiak questioned whether being a long-standing family business in town should be a “parameter.”
“This is a question of loyalty to someone who’s supported this village for all of these years,” responded Przybylo, stating that tabling the issue was “anti-business.”
The board voted 4-1 to table the issue until the January board meeting. Trustee Joseph LoVerde was absent.
“I’m ashamed of this board,” said Callero. He stated that he supports looking at future parameters for granting 6B incentives, but did not feel that Gustafson Group should be penalized just because none are currently in place.
Local business owner Henry Achino was upset about the board not granting the tax incentive on Dec. 11 and said he apologized to representatives of the Gustafson company as they were leaving the meeting.
“I’m ashamed to be part of this community,” Achino said.
Hanusiak stated that as a result of a 6B incentive other businesses in town will have to pay more in taxes over the 12-year period, stating it may cause other businesses to want to leave town.
But Finance Director Scot Neukirch said this is not the case when going from a vacant property to a 6B status. He said it is estimated the village would bring in $22,000 if the property remained vacant and about $33,000 if the building was occupied with a 6B status.