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Batavia looking to offer incentives for Suncast to stay in city

Officials eye up to $7.5 million in incentives

Published: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 10:43 p.m. CDT

BATAVIA – City officials are looking to offer Suncast Corp. up to $7.5 million in incentives in order to keep its manufacturing facility at 701 N. Kirk Road.

Aldermen at Tuesday's Joint Committee of the Whole meeting recommended approval of the proposed incentive agreement. The full City Council on Monday is set to vote on the agreement.

Suncast, which makes plastic storage and furniture products, employs about 1,200 people, making it one of the largest employers in Batavia, City Administrator Bill McGrath said. It also accounts for about 12 percent of the city's electricity, making it the city's largest user of electricity.

McGrath told aldermen that Suncast had been considering leaving Batavia because of increases in the city's electric costs. Aldermen in March voted 11-3 to approve an electric rate hike to address the electric utility's increased purchase power costs and the need for additional revenues.

Suncast has been looking at increasing production at the Batavia plant. As proposed, the city would offer Suncast the market-matching rate for growth in excess of the facility's maximum 2013 usage.

"This will capture the additional activity due to the expansion," McGrath said in a memo to Mayor Jeff Schielke and aldermen. The city also would offer an incentive depending on power use to "guarantee" Suncast remains in Batavia.

"Over several years, depending upon power usage we will rebate money to Suncast related to the costs of expansion but primarily to remain here," McGrath said.

The city also would offer some financial assistance with some of the system upgrade expenses associated with the expansion, he said.

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