In a surprising turn of events, Rock Island County and Cordova find themselves owing more than $500,000 in taxes to the nearby 3M plant. This is despite the state’s claims that the plant polluted the surrounding water. The Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board has concluded that the land on which the 3M plant sits was improperly assessed, resulting in a refund of four years’ worth of property taxes. It is worth noting that the 3M plant is currently facing a lawsuit from the Illinois attorney general, alleging that the company manufactured and dumped dangerous chemicals into the water.
During a recent City Council meeting in Cordova, Mayor James Boone refrained from commenting on the issue, citing ongoing litigation between 3M and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This meeting marked the first time the council convened since the state’s lawsuit against 3M was announced.
In March, the state of Illinois filed a lawsuit against 3M’s Cordova facility, accusing the company of manufacturing and improperly disposing of hazardous synthetic chemicals, known as PFAS. The Illinois attorney general claims that these chemicals have been detected in the Mississippi River, groundwater, and nearby residential wells. Nevertheless, 3M vehemently denies these allegations.
The repercussions of the lawsuit extend beyond Cordova. Rock Island County, Port Byron Township, and nearby school districts are also required to reimburse 3M for the taxes they collected from 2017 to 2020. The Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board ruled that the 3M plant’s land was wrongly assessed, resulting in a refund of over $500,000. It is ironic that the state is accusing 3M of polluting the water while simultaneously owing them money.
When asked for a comment on the tax issue, Cordova Township remained silent, mirroring the stance taken by the city. It is important to note that multiple entities are affected by the tax refund. According to the Rock Island County Treasurer’s Office, a total of 10 different organizations must repay 3M, including Rock Island County, the Cordova Fire Protection District, and the Erie School District. As of April 4th, roughly half of the owed amount had already been returned to 3M.
This tax issue should not be confused with the ongoing lawsuit involving pollution. The lawsuit is a separate matter, and the city of Cordova is not involved in it. However, residents of Cordova express concerns about the safety and quality of their drinking water. They feel left in the dark and were hopeful that the City Council meeting would address their worries. Unfortunately, it remains uncertain if and when the council will address these concerns.
In other news related to Cordova, an update regarding an incident from a week ago was also discussed during the City Council meeting. A man was trapped in a trench for more than three hours on Second Street South. However, there has been no further information on the incident. The city declined to comment on what is being referred to as a “maintenance incident.” The man was eventually rescued from the trench and transported by ambulance. Details regarding the reason for his presence in the trench and his current condition are still unknown.
In conclusion, Rock Island County and Cordova find themselves in the unusual situation of owing over $500,000 in improperly assessed taxes to the 3M plant. Despite allegations that the plant polluted the surrounding water, the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board ruled that the land was incorrectly assessed, resulting in a refund. Multiple entities, including school districts and fire protection districts, are also required to repay 3M. This issue is separate from the ongoing lawsuit filed against the company. Residents of Cordova are concerned about the safety of their drinking water and hope for transparency from the City Council.