The city is one step closer to paying a company to bring jobs to Racine.
The Finance and Personnel committee voted 3-1 Monday night to allow the city to enter into a developer's agreement with American Tire and Recycling, which is based on the Wisconsin-Michigan border in Niagara, Wis.
The city would pay American Tire $39,600 to cover the company's rent at 2301 S. Memorial Drive for 18 months. In exchange, the company is committed to creating 88 jobs over 18 months, with city residents getting first shot at the jobs.
City Development Director Brian O'Connell said the jobs incentive grant was "unique" for Racine.
"I don't think I've brought anything to you that's only a jobs incentive grant," O'Connell said.
Committee members passed the proposal despite unanswered questions. Aldermen asked City Development Director Brian O'Connell to find out how much the jobs will pay and if they're union jobs.
Alderman Terry McCarthy also requested the company lay out a specific schedule for when it will create jobs, and then have the city tie the rent payments to job creation.
O'Connell said the city would pay American Tire's rent on a quarterly basis, with the first payment of $6,600 coming when the company takes occupancy of the South Memorial Drive Building.
The company is committed to immediately hiring 33 low-skill workers and 20 truck drivers for the Racine site. It intends to ramp up to two shifts with a total of 88 workers over the next year and a half.
While the low-skill jobs may not pay great, O'Connell said, they're needed in Racine. The city has a large unskilled workforce that could use jobs that don't require degrees or advanced training.
"There are a lot of people without skills who need money," O'Connell said.
The meeting started with O'Connell taking some heat from the committee for providing a written review of the agreement on Monday, the same day as the meeting.
"Is there any way this committee can be better informed?" Alderman Q.A. Shakoor II asked O'Connell.
O'Connell said he didn't have an excuse. "It's the simple press of business," O'Connell responded to Shakoor. "I don't have a better reason."
Shields wanted to defer action on the proposal until the committee's Dec. 21 meeting, which may get canceled because it's the week of Christmas. That would push off a City Council vote to Jan. 5.
Instead, the committee voted to pass the proposal with the understanding O'Connell would bring more information to the City Council meeting on Dec. 15.
This was the second city committee to take up the proposal. The Redevelopment Authority approved the developer's agreement last week.
Keary Ecklund, head of American Tire and Recycling, did not attend either meeting, leaving O'Connell to present the agreement and answer questions.