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McLean County agrees to Brandt tax break plan

The board voted 16-1 to give tax abatements to Brandt Industries.

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - The McLean County board joins Unit 5 in giving a Canadian manufacturing company tax breaks to open a new plant in the community.

Brandt Industries is looking to buy a manufacturing plant, that will soon be vacant, just north of Normal. The company is planning to bring at least 300 good-paying jobs to the area over the next seven years.

Several council members did raise concerns that the deal was sprung upon them at the last minute. Jacob Beard, the only board member to vote no, says he thought the agreement set a bad precedent.

"I don't know why that's the final number. I don't know why it's 10 years and not five. And then tomorrow, what's to stop the next company from saying 'Hey, I'm going to leave Bloomington, unless you give me money," he said.

Most of the board members agreed that the deal wasn't perfect, but it was worth it to bring Brandt to McLean County

"Folks are not lined up around the block to bring a factory to our community or any community that offers this kind of jobs, that can have this kind of shot in the arm for a local economy," said board member Josh Barnett.

"There are things in this county that are working against us. But these people are going to bring jobs in and they're going to expand," added Scott Murphy. "This deal is not perfect. But don't let perfect be the enemy of good."

The tax breaks will cost the county about $70,000 over the next decade.

With both McLean County and Unit 5 on board with the agreement, Brandt officials said on Monday they were planning to move forward.

Several other smaller taxing bodies will vote on the deal in the coming weeks. Normal Township votes Thursday morning.

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