St. Joseph board OKs tax refund for developer

ST. JOSEPH — The village board has approved a sales tax refund agreement with a developer who plans to build a convenience store and gas station along U.S. 150.

Mayor B.J. Hackler said the project proposed by Wortman Properties Inc. is located between the St. Joseph United Methodist Church and the Casey's General Store.

Under the sales tax agreement approved this week, the village is to refund to Wortman Properties Inc. a portion of the sales tax money generated by the new business, for six years based on $5 million in sales. Over the six years, Wortman Properties would receive as much as $246,000. In the seventh year, the sales tax money would go to the village.

"Right now the village isn't making any money off that property," Village Attorney Joe Lierman said about sales taxes. "You can say the village is paying out money to this developer, but it's really money we wouldn't have otherwise and we are still keeping a share of the new money."

Casey's General Store management attended the meeting and said the company did not fear competition but was concerned with the sales tax refund. Casey's said it is working with the conservation district and the building to the east of the Casey's to see what land is available for expansion.

Resident Amy McElroy said she was upset by the proposal.

"I disagree completely that this isn't money out of the village's pocket. This is going to, mostly likely, take business away from Casey's, IGA and could possibly cause Yummy Tummy and Padanos to go out of business," she said.

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