Following approval of incentive agreements totaling $78,000, a business that has been operating out of Greenville since 2005 will be moving to Highland within the month and bringing dozens of jobs with it.
"We see it as a very large economic impact to the community," said Highland City Manager Mark Latham.
During a special meeting on April 23, the Highland City Council approved a tax increment financing agreement and a redevelopment agreement with Engelmann Enterprises LLC, a Highland development company.
"You are bringing a company that is going to be very valuable to the community," Latham told council members.
After working the business for a number of years, Sean Englemann, purchased Greenville-based Joiner Sheet Metal last month and has plans to move its operations to Highland.
"We are long-term residents of Highland and are happy to be able to bring this to our hometown," Engelmann said.
Joiner, a roofing and sheet metal company, has worked on many local projects at Highland Middle School, Highland High School, Mazzio's, Steve Schmidt, Tri Ford, and St. Joseph's Hospital.
"I feel Highland offers us a greater opportunity, as well as being closer to the bulk of our job locations," Engelmann said.
In anticipation of the move, Englemann purchased two private properties located at 205 Madison St., formerly known as the Highland Cabinet Gallery, and 816 Beech St.
For $28,000, Englemann also purchased a city-owned parcel, located at 802 Cedar St., which the city has been trying to sell for the last three years.
Englemann's overall investment into the three combined properties is estimated at $480,000, according to the TIF agreement. Currently, the whole project area has a current equalized assessed value (EAV) of $149,020. But, once the redevelopment is complete, the properties' EAV is expected to increase to $168,100.
"We are remodeling the building for more offices and storage," Engelmann said.
They also plan to tear down another building on the property, as well as repair and remodel the old car wash building that was also purchased. Engelmann estimated that the business should be moved into its new space by the end of May.
In light of these improvements, the city agreed to enter into a TIF agreement with the developer. These properties lie in Highland's first-ever TIF district, which was created 10 years ago. The agreement states that the city expects to pay the developer a total of $12,030 — $1,203 annually — in TIF funds over the next decade.
TIFs are used as a public financing method for redevelopment, infrastructure, and other community-improvement projects. A TIF district freezes tax revenue received on properties within its area of effect. Any new increment in assessment of those properties goes into a special fund, from which only the city can allocate as it sees fit for improvements within the TIF area. Drainage, streets, and attraction/retention of businesses within the area are the intent of this TIF district.
Latham said the district was originally created to help fund about $2.5 million worth of work on storm sewer drainage along U.S. 40.
"We have spent some money in the storm water improvement area but not to the effect that we would like to," Latham said.
Latham said other projects that TIF District 1 funds have gone to include Farm Credit Illinois, Highland Cabinet Gallery, Anderson ExpressCare, the Highland Animal Hospital, as well as other smaller rehab projects.
The council also approved a three-year redevelopment agreement with the developer. Latham said this agreement reflects the value the company will bring to the city.
"The majority of it is not coming from the investment on the real estate. It is coming from the jobs they are bringing here to Highland," Latham said.
As part of the agreement, the city will pay the company a total of $64,000 for retaining 32 full-time, or full-time equivalent positions. In the first and second years of the agreement, the developer will receive $20,000. In the third year, Englemann will get $24,000.
However, Engelmann said that he anticipates that the positions will be filled by retained employees from when the business operated in Greenville, not new hires.
As for business operations, Engelmann said that, other than operating out of a new location, the business will run as it has for years.
"We plan on continuing the same excellence of service that we have provided to all of our jobs and hope to continue to serve Highland for all of their roofing needs," Engelmann said.