Dietz comments on plans for dealerships to move

Wilmington Mayor Ben Dietz on Tuesday issued the following statement regarding plans for D’Orazio Ford and Arnie Bauer Chevy-Buick to close down shop in Wilmington in order to move to Braidwood:

“While we have a great deal of good things happening in and around town, and even more on the horizon, I have some unfortunate news to share. Last Thursday, at a special city council meeting in Braidwood, the Braidwood City Council passed an ordinance to essentially take out a $1.8-million-dollar loan to help finance a new location for D’Orazio Ford and Arnie Bauer Chevy. Obviously, that is not the outcome we hoped would happen.

“The potential relocation was brought to my attention during my first week as Mayor over a year ago. Even though I was an Alderman for two years prior I was not aware of any intention for them to leave or deals being made on behalf of the city to retain them. Immediately we began to work to find a way to keep them in town. In that process I also included our city council as they are an integral check on how the city conducts business and authorizes deals. I, along with the full support of the council, rejected D’Orazio’s prior demand which included Wilmington purchasing their existing building with public funds in the amount of $3.5 million. The demand that the city take out debt with public money to help finance a private business was not something I as a resident, or as the mayor, felt was fiscally responsible. The city, along with the full support of the council, approved a proposed deal to D’Orazio that provided a larger incentive package including waived fees, abated property taxes, and rebated sales taxes focused on their projected performance rather than guaranteed public dollars that exceeded $6 million based on the projections provided by D'Orazio. That revised offer was also rejected by D’Orazio, with a larger counteroffer requesting the City acquire land on their behalf and pay an upfront cost of $10 million to the dealerships.

“I believe that you deserve to know and understand that your elected officials and city staff worked very hard to find ways, and creative ways, to retain them. I made it clear to the council and kept them updated during the process of everything that was going on and all communications. The Alderman also had direct input into the process, something that wasn’t provided with the prior administration.

“Finally, I understand that the lack of information can cause rumors and misinformation to run rampant. To that end I want to be transparent to our residents, and to our other small business owners, that the city council and myself are very dedicated to our community and keeping our business community thriving. With that, I am making all my communication with D’Orazio available for review at City Hall.

“D’Orazio has continued to build and expand their business over the years to include a larger commercial offering, including the addition of a carwash, new product lines, and new services. The need to expand beyond your footprint is a good problem to have as a business. It is very unfortunate that the city couldn’t overcome the financial and location obstacles. They have been a great community partner with numerous sponsorships and donations touching a large range of organizations and causes and I hope those relationships continue. I wish them and all their employees the best in the coming years and look forward to continuing to work with them within our community.”