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Burlington Approves Incentives

The Burlington City Council is potentially putting millions of dollars on the line to land a new business.

Aldermen approved an incentive package for Silgan Containers Manufacturing, which is considering the city for a $100-million investment.

The California-based company, which is the world's largest producer of metal storage cans, would build a $25-million, 412,000 square foot manufacturing plant on about 35 acres within Flint Ridge Business Park.

City Manager Jim Ferneau said the city has been doing its due diligence about the company since its identity was revealed.

"All of those came back that there were not any significant problems with this company," said Ferneau.  "This is a company that's been established for a little under 30 years and it has seen tremendous growth during that time."

To bring the company to Burlington, the city council agreed to exempt the property taxes on the potential plant for 20 years or to rebate associated tax increment financing (TIF) dollars over that same period of time, which could be worth millions depending on the value of the plant.

Ferneau said the city council also waived the associated building and utility connection fees (around $100,000) and agreed to improve some nearby streets ($200,000 to $300,000) with the help of a state grant.

"Improving the quality of Division Street," said Ferneau, "(as) that road is in deteriorating shape and then some intersection work at Division and West Burlington Ave. (as well as) West Burlington Ave. and West St.  Those two big

Ferneau said this is a great opportunity for the city, with the potential for more than 100 full-time, quality jobs.

But he acknowledged that it was also a difficult decision for the city council, given the financial impact.

“The council had to make some really difficult decisions knowing that if they were not willing to put together this type of a package, we would not be considered," said Ferneau.

The state of Iowa is set to consider its own set of incentives for Silgan, which already has a manufacturing plant in Fort Madison.

The company has said employees at other Iowa facilities will not be impacted by a new plant in Burlington.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.