Costco conversations continue in Winnebago County

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) --- Heated conversation came from both sides of the aisle during the Winnebago County bipartisan caucus meeting on Monday, in response to Chairman Frank Haney's memo last week.

"He had, what? Five, six months, but we didn't have enough time. It's just awful, convenient, and to me, it's dirty politics. And I don't care how people vote, that's up to them, but this is no way to run a democracy," said board member Joe Hoffman.

The plan calls for $1.68 million to be paid over a six-year period to the city of Loves Park, with the funds being used to refurbish infrastructure around the proposed Costco site.

Loves Park mayor Greg Jury says the approval process has been long and frustrating, but he says working directly with board members in support of the project is reassuring.

"This is a great project for the area that going to bring tons of revenue for the county and it also is going to produce a lot of industrial jobs to 600 acres north of where the Costco site is going," said Jury.

Chairman Haney's memo says the host fee funds should be available to all communities interested in economic development, rather than allocating the sum to just one project, leaving the county, he says, in a difficult position should any future retailers request financial support. However, board member Burt Gerl says wouldn't be the case.

"We've invested millions and millions of dollars within Perryville Road, Willowbrook Road, Springfield Avenue, Baxter Road. So, we have committed to this county that we want to improve this county, we want infrastructure, we want economic development, we want good paying jobs, and that's what this is about," said Gerl.