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Council approves tax break for Sterling car lot

Incentive will help dealer offset cost of $1.5 million renovation project

STERLING – A local auto dealer is enjoying that new car showroom smell – and a tax break to go with it.

The Sterling City Council voted 5-0 Tuesday to approve a 10-year sales tax rebate to Kunes Country Ford Lincoln, to help offset a portion of $1.5 million in recent remodeling to the group’s sales site at 2811 N. Locust. Alderman Bob Conklin was absent.

City Manager Scott Shumard said the rebate will be 50 percent of incremental sales taxes over a base, using tax receipts from the past 3 years to determine what the base would be. For example, if Kunes generates an extra $20,000 in sales tax above the base, they’ll receive $10,000 back.

“If they have $0 growth, they get $0 back,” Shumard said.

The agreement doesn’t include local option sales tax.

Tony Wheatley, regional general manager for Kunes Auto Group, said the Locust Street building’s showroom and service department were expanded over about 6 months. A grand reopening will be held Thursday.

“We added a cafe, waiting area, a business center, and a new, air-conditioned service drive,” Wheatley said.

Such agreements aren’t unknown in Sterling. Shumard said Knie’s and Kohl’s both have similar agreements with the city.

Flooding update

Shumard and Public Works Director Brad Schrader also updated the council on the flooding situation after the sudden melting of about a foot of snow in the area, and additional rain.

Shumard showed photos of Elkhorn Creek north of the city, with the area around Science Ridge Road heavily flooded. Science Ridge was closed west of state Route 40 north of the city.

“About 12 inches of snow melted in about 36 hours,” Shumard said.

Alderman Joseph Martin said farm fields around state Route 40 are flooded as badly as Science Ridge Road.

At least some of the water entering the city’s wastewater treatment plant is from a creek. Shumard also shared a photo from Schrader showing a fish that had survived the journey from waterway to wastewater plant.


The City Council will meet next at 6:30 p.m. March 6 at City Hall, 212 Third Ave. Go to for agendas and more information.

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