Belgium Family Dental donation allows municipal offices to move to former BMO Harris building
When the Town of Belgium Board meets Monday, Jan. 5, it will likely be in its new Town Hall at 171 Main St.
Town residents recently approved accepting a $350,000 donation from Belgium Family Dental, which owns the building and has its dental practice in the complex.
The town will pay only $110,000 for the structure, which is valued at $460,000. The building was constructed in 1996 and formerly housed BMO Harris Bank.
“This is something that can serve the township into perpetuity,” Town Chairman Tom Winker said. “For the value we’re getting, it’s a tremendous opportunity.”
The decision to approve the new hall caps a whirlwind two weeks for the town that was prepared to stay at its old hall, 814 Main St. for the near future.
“The reason in getting this done so quickly is because the dentists wanted to make this donation, which the IRS terms a gift, by the end of the year,” Winker said.
Earlier this month, Supr. Jim Blick, who headed the search for a new hall, told the Town Board of the proposed donation.
“It’s almost an unbelievable price,” Blick said at the time. “It has everything we’re looking for and is essentially a turnkey operation.
“I guess this is the dentists’ way of giving back to the community.”
Because the building is in the Village of Belgium, the town is required to abide by village zoning regulations.
Winker said the town plans to keep the building zoned as a business.
The town has to apply for a conditional use permit from the village’s Plan Commission, which will occur after a public hearing on Monday, Dec. 29.
Assuming that is approved, the town can move in, Winker said.
The village and town also agreed to a payment in lieu of taxes, meaning the town will make voluntary payments to the village for the next four years because the building will no longer be on the tax rolls.
In 2015, the town will pay the village $1,692, $1,294 in 2016, $880 in 2017 and $449 in 2018, according to the agreement.
The village will continue to provide services like fire protection, street maintenance and snow removal, the agreement states.
Winker said the deal makes sense because the building is an asset to the village.
“When you drive into a community and see an empty business, that doesn’t project the right image,” he said.
Village President Rich Howells agreed, calling the agreement a “nice gesture on the town’s part.”
“They could have said no and we couldn’t have forced them to do anything,” Howells said. “The important thing is the village and town are working together.”
Winker said the town plans to donate its old Town Hall, which was built in 1894, noting it was offered to the Luxembourg American Cultural Center.