MOUNT PLEASANT — Local officials continued closed-door discussions Monday as Foxconn prepares to enter the southeastern Wisconsin region.
The Mount Pleasant Village Board and Community Development Authority met Monday afternoon for about 90 minutes at Village Hall, 8811 Campus Drive, to talk about an unspecified development project believed to be Foxconn.
They were joined in the closed session by other local officials, including from the county and Racine County Economic Development Corp.
“We’re continuing discussions with staff and legal counsel,” Village President Dave DeGroot said after the board reconvened in open session.
He declined further comment afterward, saying, “we were having some discussions and educating the board on some things that we’re working on.”
State law allows governing bodies to discuss real estate negotiations in private, but any action must be taken in open session.
The Mount Pleasant meeting came five days after Taiwanese electronics giant Foxconn announced at the White House it plans to spend $10 billion on a massive manufacturing campus in southeastern Wisconsin.
The plant, which will be built on more than 1,000 acres, will likely be located in Racine or Kenosha counties. Land along Highway 11 in Mount Pleasant and Sturtevant is believed to be a primary target.
Local officials have largely declined comment on the specifics of negotiations, including what incentives might be proposed.
Alfonso Gardner of Mount Pleasant told the board he hopes trustees ensure Foxconn jobs go to local taxpayers. The company says it will eventually create up to 13,000 direct jobs.
“I believe that everybody who pays taxes should be able to get an opportunity,” Gardner said during the public comment portion of a Village Board meeting Monday.
“There’s a lot of building going on in Mount Pleasant and I don’t see (anybody) who looks like me working on any of these projects,” added Gardner, who is black.
Environmental standards scrutinized
Also on Monday, conservationists ripped plans to eliminate key environmental regulations as part of the state’s proposed $3 billion incentives package.
Gov. Scott Walker’s incentives bill would exempt Foxconn from environmental impact statements and state permits for filling wetlands and building on lake beds.
Midwest Environmental Advocates attorney Sarah Geers said Monday the bill would leave people in the dark about how the plant would affect the landscape and result in the loss of wetlands.
DNR spokesman Jim Dick countered that the bill is about streamlining the process, and since Foxconn hasn’t said where the plant will be built, no one knows if any wetlands will be affected.
Walker has called the Legislature into a special session, which begins Tuesday, to debate the Foxconn legislation.