A citizens advisory group is recommending the Village Board grant financial incentives to a Tinley Park-based auto parts manufacturer because of its indirect contributions to the village.
Village Economic and Commercial Commission members gave their conditional support last week to a request from UGN Inc. for $70,000 in incentives over seven years. The funding would help with the firm's projected $300,000 expansion of its corporate headquarters in the Tinley Crossings Corporate Center.
UGN produces noise-reduction, interior trim and heat-management products for Honda and Toyota at plants in Chicago Heights, Kentucky, Tennessee and Valparaiso, Ind. Annual revenues exceed $250 million, according to the company's website.
Incentives are usually linked to increased tax revenue. But Commissioner James Mohler, leading the endorsement, acknowledged UGN generates no sales taxes.
The only revenue the village gets from UGN "is the real estate tax they provide," Mohler said.
Still, commissioners agreed the 80 or so "high-pay" employees at the corporate facility on the 18400 block of Crossing Drive live in and around Tinley Park, patronizing local retailers and restaurants.
Economic Development Director Ivan Baker also said the corporation, at its location for 10 years, patronizes local restaurants, hotels and motels. That prompted Commissioner Curt Fiedler to ask for documentation of UGN's usage of local hotels and motels.
Still, Chairman Marty Ward was glad UGN is staying in the village.
"It's good that we've got them investing back in Tinley Park," he said.
Ward and other commissioners agreed UGN was an asset because its "high pay" enables its corporate employees to live in and around Tinley Park.
Mohler tempered his support for the incentive, noting he agreed with Commissioner Mohammed Nofal's suggestion that the village include financial penalties if UGN fails to live up to its part of the incentive agreement.
"We're not doing this so it's 80 jobs now at $85,000 a year, and four years from now it's 40 jobs," Mohler said.
But Baker said UGN's expansion plans suggest the company "is hiring more people."
Baker also said the facility's location in the Will County portion of Tinley Park may make it eligible for assistance from the Will County Center for Economic Development, which has made attracting and retaining corporate headquarters a priority.
Baker told Commissioner Rebecca Palumbo the village's previous incentive to UGN ended "over a couple of years ago." That incentive, Baker said, helped UGN transform the current property from "a shell with no landscaping" into an attractive location.
"It was a direct benefit to the area and did exactly what the (village) board wanted it to do," Baker said.