Galesburg board votes to bill Maytag $94,000 for school taxes

Galesburg board votes to bill Maytag $94,000 for school taxes
 
Date October 29, 2004
Section(s) Local News
Brief  
 
BY JOYCE KELLY

PEORIA JOURNAL STAR

Special to the Newton Daily News

GALESBURG — The Knox County Board has decided the county should simply send Maytag Corp. a bill instead of suing the company for about $94,000 members believe the company owes School District 205.

The board voted 14-1 on the resolution during its meeting Wednesday. Board member Lowell Mannhardt voted no. The consensus among other members was that by simply sending a bill, the county would recoup taxes while avoiding the image of being unfriendly to businesses, a concern held by area planners and some officials.

Knox County State’s Attorney Paul Mangieri first approached the board in August to ask members to support a proposed lawsuit against Maytag, which has laid off about 1,600 workers as it plans a complete exit in February.

Mangieri had determined Maytag owed, from a more than 10-year period, about $1 million in abated taxes to six Knox County taxing bodies within an enterprise zone: the County Board, School District 205, the city of Galesburg, the Town of the City of Galesburg, the Galesburg Sanitary District and Carl Sandburg College.

Mangieri needs at least one taxing body to agree to the lawsuit. Up until Wednesday, all but two taxing bodies had objected to the lawsuit: District 205, which is still investigating possibilities, and the County Board.

Mangieri believes Maytag was allowed up to $1 million in abatements for all six taxing bodies collectively.

In August, the County Board instructed Mangieri to negotiate on its behalf. The state’s attorney said Wednesday he contacted Maytag a while back and had “a good cordial give-and-take phone conversation.”

Mangieri said the next correspondence he received was a letter to the taxing bodies, and he received a copy. He said Maytag does not think it owes the county anything, and that if it did at some point, the statute of limitation would make any obligations void.

Board member Allen Pickrel said he believes Maytag does owe District 205 $94,000 and moved that a bill be sent Maytag. But neither he nor any of the other board members agreed to the $1 million amount Mangieri feels the county is owed.

Board Wayne Saline agreed with billing the company. “It’s an issue of equality. If it were a resident of the county, we wouldn’t hesitate sending the bill. We need to send it (to Maytag),” he said, drawing applause from the audience.

Maytag spokeswoman Lynne Dragomeir said the company remains open to communicating with the county.

“The company always would receive communication from any group, of course, but the company has made its position clear that we believe it has paid its fair share,” she said.

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