Mercury Marine’s local incentive package for staying in the city of Fond du Lac includes $3 million from the city and $50 million from the county. Fond du Lac city and county officials revealed details about an incentive package Tuesday morning.
The county’s share would in part be funded by a county sales tax. County Executive Al Buechel said the county has always held off implementing a half percent sales tax until it was needed to address crucial situation, and Mercury’s possible relocation to Oklahoma provided that critical moment. “I think in view of what the impact of Mercury leaving Fond du Lac would be, I certainly felt that this was the time,” Buechel said.
“There’s certainly always going to be some pain, and there will be some reaction, concerning any number of the parts of this economic development package,” said City Manager Tom Herre, conceding that local leaders realize that the incentive package won’t be agreeable to everyone, but Mercury’s impact in leaving would have touched thousands of lives. “When you stack it up against the long term good for the city of Fond du Lac and the county, we think that’s a decent trade off.”
Fond du Lac County Economic Development Corporation President Brenda Hicks-Sorensen said the package is no different than what has been offered other businesses, except they did much more due diligence and the incentives are on a much bigger scale. Fond du Lac County Board Chairman Marty Farrell said the incentive package is not a precedent for the county. Farrell said similar, but smaller packages were offered to keep Alliance Laundry and Ripon Foods from leaving Ripon several years ago.
If Mercury were to leave Fond du Lac and Fond du Lac County the $50 million loan would become due immediately. The City Council and County Board will act on approving the incentive package this week. City Council President Tim Lakin and Farrell believe there support for the package in both bodies.
Contributed by Bob Nelson, KFIZ