City approves loans to remodel Talty dealership
Resident renews concerns over ongoing flooding, blames Kopczick for inaction
The Morris City Council has approved lending Talty Chevrolet Buick Cadillac in Morris $500,000 to go toward remodeling and expanding the dealership.
At its regular meeting Monday, the council approved a Community Development Assistance Program loan to Talty of $225,000 for 10 years, at a 2 percent interest rate, and a Tax Increment Financing District fund loan of $275,000 for nine years at a 2 percent interest rate.
CDAP loans come from the city to create or retain jobs. The TIF fund contains money from the city’s TIF District, which freezes the assessed value of properties in the district. Any tax money from increases in value of those properties then goes into a special fund to be used to improve properties in the district.
Some of the work Talty will be using the money for is for changes required by General Motors for its dealerships. GM is requiring a facelift as part of a new image program. The ordinance approving the loans states the money will be used for expanding the service department, a facility remodel, and to allow for the continuation of the business.
Alderman Randy Larson asked the action to approve the loans be pending the validation of the collateral and cash flow of the company.
“They’re putting up the property and building, which is more than adequate,” said Alderman Bill Martin.
Larson said he was under the impression the city was still waiting on some information, so he wanted the approval pending that.
Larson asked Ken Talty if the dealership had made a profit in 2012 and Talty confirmed that it had. Larson also questioned why GM was not helping its dealerships financially to meet its requirements, especially since GM was bailed out by the government.
“They don’t offer loans. They count on us as owners to get private loans,” said Talty. “They are in the business of manufacturing vehicles, not in the loan business.”
The loans from the city were approved unanimously, with Alderman Don Hansen absent.
Alderman Julian Houston said after the vote that the community was lucky to have the CDAP program and the TIF district.
“It’s a good feeling to be a part of a community that can reach out to help businesses in the community to stay in the community and stay vital,” he said.
During the public comments portion of the meeting, local resident Bronco Bojovic of Lisbon Road said he takes issue with Mayor Richard Kopczick for not fixing the flooding issues in his subdivision.
Because of this and other concerns, he told the council he was supporting John Brooks, independent candidate running against Kopczick and Alderman Drew Muffler in the mayoral race.
Bojovic said the last time he attended a council meeting was about seven years ago in the old city hall to address the flooding in his neighborhood. He said now he was back in the new “Taj Mahal,” that cost the city “$14.6 million.” Bojovic was immediately corrected by Aldermen Martin and Duane Wolfe, who stated the building cost less than $8.6 million.
This ignited heated comments back and forth between Bojovic, some of the aldermen and Mayor Kopczick. Kopczick used his gavel numerous times to calm all down.
Bojovic said every time there is a heavy rain he gets water in his home due to sewage backup that occurs because of the city’s bad infrastructure. He said he has spent $6,000 on new check valves.
Kopczick said he and Public Works Director Jim Gretencord went to Bojovic’s house when he first approached the city and Kopczick said he told Bojovic how he could fix the issue within his home while the city worked on the water and sewage issues.
“I will work day and night to get (Brooks) in your chair because in the private sector . . . a CEO gets fired when you don’t do your job,” said Bojovic. “It’s been 7 years and my house is still flooding.”
“If you had been to any of our meetings, other than the last time you were here in the old building, (you would know) that we have spent almost two years of engineering and time, and also gone to bid and awarded the first phase of a four-year project . . . which is to relieve this issue,” said Kopczick.
He is referring to the long-term control plan project, which is required by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. This will eliminate any overflow from heavy rains going into the Illinois River or creeks. The project will include work from the city’s treatment plant to George Street, which encompasses Bojovic’s street.
The discussion continued to be argumentative with Bojovic stating he had never been treated so badly by a board and Kopczick telling him to be civil and using the gavel to call him to order.