During a Committee of the Whole meeting of the Columbia City Council Monday night, the proposed new Brockland auto dealership on Old State Route 3 north of Columbia was discussed.
Bob Brockland Buick-GMC, which currently operates a dealership in Cahokia, is negotiating with the city for tax rebate financing.
The decision for Brockland to move from Cahokia is two-fold. First, General Motors mandated years ago that the dealership either move to a new building or upgrade the existing facility, at an estimated cost of about $1 million. Additionally, with GMC’s decision to eliminate the Pontiac brand of vehicles, “we lost the one line that really made the most sense in that community,” according to company controller Liz Brockland.
She added that, as a family-run business, “(Relocating to) Columbia just makes so much sense to us, both personally and professionally.”
The estimated annual income of the new dealership for the city is greater than $200,000, Brockland said. It would be located on Old Route 3 across the street from TopShooters and the former Rouse’s Furniture, now Electrico.
Council members tentatively agreed in committee on a tax
rebate that would allow Brockland to keep 70 percent of their taxes owed the city, with the city receiving 30 percent of the annual tax revenue. This arrangement will last for a period of 10 years, or until Brockland has retained $1.5 million in rebated sales tax, whichever comes first.
“Instead of looking at how much are we giving (Brockland), instead the city needs to look at how much are we going to get,” Mayor Kevin Hutchinson stressed.
The city’s annual revenue on the vacant property Brockland is considering building on is currently less than $3. If the dealership relocates there, Columbia can anticipate receiving about $60,000 or more annually during the term of the negotiated tax rebate.
Although public input is allowed at committee meetings, no one attending Monday’s meeting spoke for or against the planned dealership and tax rebate.
The full city council is expected to vote on the matter during the next council meeting set for Monday night, March 18.
In other Columbia news, the city has acknowledged receiving a bill from the recently formed Columbia Fire Protection District for about $40,000. The district was created by the merger of the Columbia Fire Department and the Columbia Rural Fire Protection District, and as part of the merger, each side had financial obligations to fulfill regarding the transfer of ownership and debt of equipment and facilities.
“We have been reviewing the (charge) and the Intergovernmental Agreement entered into with the Fire District to determine the amount due to the Fire District by the city. This is part of the due diligence process the city follows on various billings it receives,” city administrator Al Hudzik explained. “I’m sure this issue will be resolved and the billings will be properly handled.”
Additionally, the final draft of the Explore Columbia bicycle and pedestrian plan is now available for public review. There will be a public hearing March 18 at City Hall. The final plan is posted on the city’s website, www.ColumbiaIllinois.com, and hard copies will be available for study at Columbia Public Library and in the Clerk’s Office.
Also, a community survey being given by the Columbia Plan Commission is available on the city’s website and at the clerk’s office. All responses received by March 29 at 4:30 p.m. will be incorporated into the city’s newest version of its Comprehensive Plan.