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Tax abatements necessary to remain competitive, Crown Point officials say

Crown Point Mayor David Uran speaks about upgrades  water lines during ribbcutting ceremony for storm water improvement project Monday

Crown Point Mayor David Uran speaks about the upgrades of the water lines during a ribbon cutting ceremony for the storm water improvement project on Monday, September 24, 2012, in Crown Point. | Scott R. Brandush~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: August 9, 2013 6:26AM



CROWN POINT — Tax abatements may not be ideal, but they are a necessary tool to recruiting business to the community, officials say.

In a rare moment for public comment at the Crown Point City Council meeting last week, resident Andrew Hunter questioned why officials would want to give businesses discounted access to services to locate here when Crown Point has so many desirable qualities to begin with.

Hunter said Crown Point’s population continues to grow, an indication the city has certain attributes that attract both homeowners and businesses. He said the demographic is desirable to businesses.

“By giving tax abatements, the rest of us have to make up the difference. Crown Point needs to attract businesses that will be good citizens instead of getting services for half price,” Hunter said.

Council members said they agreed with Hunter but find themselves in a position where, to remain competitive, they have no alternative.

“I agree with you 100 percent,” Councilman Bill Feder, D-At Large, said. “The fact is we live in a community in competition with other communities.”

Feder said until all communities decide to stop the practice of tax abatements to lure businesses, Crown Point will have to continue to offer the deals to remain competitive.

“If we didn’t do it, they would go to Munster or Valparaiso, who have the same demographics,” Feder said, adding city officials look for the businesses that receive tax abatements to create jobs and pay a decent wage.

Mayor David Uran said dealing with the issue of tax abatements is not cut and dry but more a “hybrid.” He said the state sets the rules and city officials work to find businesses that will complement the city. He said while the city may be abating 50 percent of the taxes on a business, the 50 percent they pay is more than nothing and the new business provides economic stimulus by creating jobs.

“It’s a complicated issue. We want to be competitive. We understand what you are trying to say here, we can’t give the milk away for free. It’s a long-term picture for long-term gain,” Uran said.



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