Coal Valley Fire District to consider legal challenge to permanent tax break for Elliott
The Coal Valley Fire Protection District will weigh the pros and cons of joining a legal fight to try and get Elliott Aviation to pay property taxes that will dry up next year, after a new law exempts the company from its bill.
“They’re a volunteer fire district and their whole source of revenue is the tax base, so when you cut out a piece of that, they’re going to feel it”, said Derek Hancks, a Moline attorney who represents the Coal Valley district.
“I think that’s certainly something the fire district will explore. Will it be cost effective for them to join in, what’s the likelihood of success? I can tell you they’re certainly not happy about the tax exempt status”, Hancks said in an interview with WQAD on Tuesday.
The Fire Department will lose about $15,000 in property tax dollars because of the exemption, one of ten governmental taxing bodies impacted by the tax break.
On Monday, the Moline School Board voted to move forward with its attorneys to try and challenge the constitutionality of a law passed to benefit only one business.
“I can’t imagine that there aren’t plenty of other businesses talking to attorneys to figure out ways to encourage them not to have to pay taxes”, said Moline Superintendent David Moyer.
The district will lose close to $150,000 in property tax dollars, and recently announced proposals to cut several teachers.
Elliott Aviation is currently in the ninth year of a ten-year tax abatement deal, which already cuts its tax bills almost in half. They are one of five businesses in the county given incentive-based tax abatements.
But starting in June of next year, Elliott will not have to pay any property taxes on two parcels of land it leases from the Quad City Airport Authority. Critics say it’s a free pass, a sweet-heart of a deal that takes money from schools when it is needed the most.
Local lawmakers lobbied for the exemption, saying Elliott might not expand its operations without it.
Gov. Pat Quinn signed the exemption into law Feb. 1.