Hoping to Avoid the Worst in Clinton - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Hoping to Avoid the Worst in Clinton

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Bringing more jobs and money to Clinton.

That's the idea behind a major rail project that started back in 2009.

Clinton County bought over 500 acres of land on the southwest side of city limits.

It's all part of the agreement that requires the city to pay back the county...

And now, 4 years into the project - there's a concern about paying that money back.

It all stems from an agreement from the City of Clinton to repay a $6 million loan from the county - from property sales in the rail port.

This was done because at the time of the sale - the city of Clinton didn't have enough money to buy all the land.

The county purchased the land - using bonds - that are paid with property taxes - by everyone in the county.

As of today - about 4 years after the agreement was reached - only 2 companies has purchased land in this area - totaling about $400,000.

That means the city still owes the county about $5.5 million dollars by 2019.

The agreement states that if not enough land sells by the deadline- the city will have to foot the bill.

The mayor says that would likely come from bonds- that would be paid by property owners in the city.

Meaning - people living in the city could ending up paying for the same project twice - with their tax dollars.

But- city leaders hope it doesn't come to this.

Especially with so much hope riding on the success of this project.

"Clinton needs to grow if we are going to survive," says Mayor Mike Vulich. "One of the biggest things that brings new businesses to town is that we retain businesses... Probably the most important thing the citizens care about is jobs. Usually industrial jobs are good paying jobs. And that's one of the biggest things we need right now in Clinton is jobs that keep people in Clinton. We need to have employment for them."

Now, Clinton doesn't have to sell every piece of land within the rail port to pay back the county.

The Mayor says that once more businesses move into the area - that will spur development around it.

Money from that can be used to pay back the county as well - trying to avoid residents from paying more - for a project they already paid for.

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