CLINTON — Clinton County will not split development expenses with the city of Clinton out of sales proceeds from the RAIL.ONE purchase at the Lincolnway Railport.
Attorney John Frey and other representatives of the city met with the Clinton County Board of Supervisors in August to determine what “sales proceeds” meant. The county expected that the two entities would split the $1.1 million purchase price, while the city hoped the split would be done after the subtraction of legal fees, the purchase of land, sewer and well credits and road construction.
The board considered three different resolutions Monday on what expenses the county would split.
The first resolution had the county and city splitting abstract costs, legal expenses, recording fees, property tax prorate, platting and land purchase costs. In a worksheet he handed out, Supervisor Brian Schmidt estimated these costs at $227,357. The board approved this unanimously.
A second resolution would have the county pay for half of the credits the city gave to RAIL.ONE for sewer, demolition and a new well, estimated at $104,500. The final resolution would have the county and city splitting almost $66,750 in roadway engineering and construction costs.
Joe Dierickx and Keith Dexter, from the Clinton County Farm Bureau, asked the board to only split the expenses outlined in the first resolution. Dexter agreed sharing those costs are fair.
“It seems to me that it’s a better use of county funds if we only are putting it toward this abstracting and normal fees and not in the development of this land,” said Dierickx, urging the county to vote down the other two resolutions.
Richard Phelan, from the Clinton Regional Development Corp., pointed out that every job going into the railport benefits the entire county, not just the city.
The expenses listed in the second resolution are credits given to RAIL.ONE in the purchase contract, money the city will never see. County Attorney Mike Wolf said this amount reflects the portion of the 28E agreement where the county declined being involved in the negotiation. The idea was that having two governmental entities in negotiation would not allow for the flexibility needed for such a deal.
“It’s reflected in the way it was able, the city was able to negotiate this in record time and make these determinations,” Wolf said.
Wolf added that it is only fair if the county trusted the city to handle negotiations that they should listen to the reasons regarding these credits.
Schmidt was not in favor of the county paying for the costs in resolution two and three, seeing them as developmental costs. Supervisor Jill Davisson also expressed concern about paying for what could be developmental costs. She said that is one thing the board assured taxpayers they would not do.
“I can see both sides of this. I really can,” Davisson said.
She told Frey and the board that she understands why the city had to offer the credits. However, she is afraid of doing one thing when they told the taxpayers another.
Resolution two failed, with Davisson and Schmidt voting no and Supervisor John Staszewski voting yes. All three Supervisors voted against the third resolution for the roadwork. Davisson apologized to Frey, saying she hates to tell a group of people, who have been friends to the county, no.
“If it’s a true friendship, which this is, a friend can say no to a friend and they’ll still be friends,” Frey said. “And that’s what’s going to happen here.”
The county also approved sail of railport property to Nevada Railroad Material, Inc.