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Minooka grade school district approves industrial settlement

MINOOKA – Minooka Grade School District 201 has approved a tax agreement with LyondellBasell that settles property tax disputes going back to 2003.

District 201, which voted 7-0 Wednesday in favor of the agreement, is one of 14 taxing bodies that will need to approve the long awaited settlement. Others include fire departments in Minooka, Channahon and Morris, as well as school districts and townships.

LyondellBasell is one of several industrial companies that disputed the equalized assessed value, or EAV, of their property and a settlement has been in the works for some time.

The agreement, which covers four years going forward, in addition to settling prior years, sets the company’s EAV at $87 million with a yearly increase to $95 million the last year of the agreement.

The plant had been depreciating at a rate of 5 percent per year, which the agreement halted, Superintendent Al Gegenheimer said.

LyondellBasell will be paying $3.5 million to all taxing bodies collectively, Gegenheimer said.

The agreement also provides incentives to improve existing property, expanding the plant, which will add to the district’s EAV and create more job opportunities, and report the improvements to the county assessor.

Reporting improvements helps to accurately and fairly value the property, Gegenheimer said.

“As the Grundy Economic Development Council has done with other large commercial/industrial properties, improvements to the plant will be eligible for an abatement of a portion of the added value’s property taxes on improvements,” Gegenheimer said.

The other taxing bodies and their respective legal counsel have all expressed support for the agreement, Gegenheimer said.

Intramural sports being considered

A suggestion from District 201 Board of Education member Donald McKinney has got the grade school district looking at adding more intramural sports on the elementary level.

McKinney originally suggested the board consider a no-cut policy for all its sports so that more children would be allowed to play, saying competition can wait for the high school level.

Gegenheimer relayed his experiences when he was a principal for Channahon when they had a no-cut policy. So many students were on the team, the coaches weren’t able to give proper instruction.

“It creates another problem,” Gegenheimer said. “Our responsibility is to help build self-esteem of the kids we work with. They get their self-esteem from their teachers and our programs.”

The girls basketball team had 40 players and every game they were blown away, he said. Other teams’ players would leave the games laughing. The same would happen with volleyball.

“What was happening was they weren’t improving,” Gegenheimer said. “That’s doing nothing for our boys’ and girls’ self-esteem.”

Gegenheimer directed Rob Juritza, Minooka Junior High School’s assistant principal and athletic director, to work on a program for basketball and volleyball that would increase intramural sports for students.

Minooka students’ art is published on card

The artwork of five students from the Minooka grade school district won awards in the STR Partners annual holiday card design contest.

STR Partners is a Chicago-based architectural firm with clients ranging from local businesses to Fortune 500 companies.

The five Minooka students were selected along with 20 other entries to be featured on the holiday card. More than 900 submissions were received from elementary schools all over Illinois.

Samantha DiLorenzo and Hannah Loverude from Minooka Elementary School both won the Silver Award Certificate and a Target gift card. Aux Sable Elementary students Abigail Foster, Evan Wilson and Shelby Darby each won a Special Recognition Award certificate.

During this week’s meeting, Andrea Pierre, art teacher for both schools, congratulated the students and thanked their parents for providing such good support.

“You help so much so these students can excel and have an opportunity to earn such an awesome honor,” Pierre said.

In other business, Gegenheimer reported that District 201 received $38,000 from the village of Minooka from impact fees.

“That equates to a lot of homes being built, which is good for the economy,” Gegenheimer said.

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