CEDARBURG — The city of
Cedarburg Community Development Authority unanimously approved an
agreement Monday night that will eventually cancel the outstanding
property tax bill due on the Amcast property at Hamilton and Johnson
streets through a process known as tax in rem assignment and
“This agreement will cancel the tax in arrears on the Amcast
property, and as part of the redevelopment process, the county will
assign the right to foreclose on the property to the CDA and
(developer) DJ Burns’ company,” explained City Attorney Mike
Herbrand. “The tax delinquencies are essentially frozen as part of
the foreclosure process.”
This process can only occur if there is an entity in place to
remediate the property, which is Burns’ company. In November, the
CDA approved a developer’s agreement for the redevelopment of the
property. Due to contamination on the site, remediation is required
before any redevelopment can take place.
The approval of the agreement Monday night allows the county to
assign the foreclosure judgment to the CDA and Burns, with the sole
purpose of enabling Burns’ company to acquire government grants that
will help fund the remediation process.
“There is very little to no environmental risk to the city in this
agreement, correct?” asked CDA member Jack Arnett.
Herbrand noted that the city’s responsibility will only last a
matter of moments as the transfer occurs.
“We have been working with our environmental counsel on this project
and there would have to be some sort of environmental spill or
situation that would occur during those seconds for the city to have
any responsibility at all,” he noted.
“If for some reason the county transfers this to the city and DJ decides
not to pursue the development, what happens?” asked CDA member Dale
“All of the paperwork will be signed before the judge signs the
agreement,” said Herbrand.
Burns was in attendance at the meeting and noted that he already had
the proper paperwork completed with the Department of Natural
Resources and that the quitclaim deed, once signed, would divest the
city of its interest immediately upon its execution.
According to Ozaukee County Treasurer Joshua Morrison, as of
Tuesday, the property taxes due on the three properties that
comprise the Amcast site were about $276,331, but that amount will
continue to change on the first of each month as penalties and
interest continue to accrue.
During the meeting, Arnett noted that there was an opportunity
available for the county potentially to reclaim those funds in the
“With the taxes, should the Tax Incremental Financing district work
out and pay off, they could be recovered in the end?” he asked.
“If after all the TIF costs are paid, yes, we left that opportunity
in for the taxes to be recovered,” said Herbrand.
The CDA unanimously approved the agreement by a 4-0 vote, with Mayor
Mike O’Keefe, Arnett, Lythjohan and Joe Kassander taking part in the
vote. CDA members Eric Arvold, Eric Stelter and Andy Dettro were not
in attendance for the meeting.
“I believe with interest and fees the county tax demand on the
bankrupt Amcast property to be near $325,000,” Cedarburg Mayor Mike
O’Keefe said Wednesday about the likely total tax tab on the
property. “This could have sabotaged our intent to clean up and
redevelop the property.
“The County Board, realizing this could have hindered the
remediation of the severely contaminated and blighted property,
graciously offered to forgive the tax debt on a bankrupt property to
help make clean up and redevelopment possible. We hope, if possible,
to use the TID to help the county recover some or all of the missed
tax revenue they have lost to the insolvency of the property once
the city investment has been recovered.”
The entire process is estimated for completion by the end of the
month. The CDA also approved giving O’Keefe the authority to sign
all required paperwork relating to the agreement.
<<EARLIER: County may forgive Amcast taxes