JOLIET – City officials want to create special property tax districts in business areas around Joliet.
The plan presented last week could start as soon next year in two areas – the Jefferson Street corridor and a large section of the south end of the city that includes the CenterPoint Intermodal Center-Joliet, Chicagoland Speedway and even Hollywood Casino.
City Manager Jim Hock told a City Council committee that money raised by the special taxes could be put back into the business districts for incentives to attract business and to pay for an economic development professional.
“What we’re proposing is a focus on economic development,” Hock said.
Mayor Bob O’Dekirk called the concept “a great idea. I think it’s a key component of economic development that this organization could give incentives for businesses to move into the area.”
The proposal is to create the same kind of Special Service Area that taxes businesses downtown. Money from that tax is used to fund the City Center Partnership, which promotes the downtown area, sponsors events and provides grants to bring in new businesses.
“The City Center is an SSA already,” Hock said. “It’s not something new. It’s been around the state for years.”
Special Service Areas are used to create property taxes that apply only to those areas. In the City Center, the money raised by the tax goes to the city but is used strictly for that area and spent in cooperation with a board that oversees the SSA.
Hock said similar boards would be created for other SSAs if they are established by the city.
The proposal was presented at the Joliet City Council’s Economic Development Committee on Wednesday. It was not on the agenda for the meeting but was brought as new business.
Hock said he is trying to do the work needed to have SSAs created for Jefferson Street and the south end of the city by next year. But he did not know if they could be ready by then.
He also presented a list of other possible Special Service Areas that included pockets of commercial areas throughout Joliet, including the area around the Louis Joliet Mall that is one of the most active business development markets in the city.
Other potential future SSAs on the list included: Route 59 and Caton Farm Road; Route 59 and Theodore Street; Essington Road; Larkin Avenue; and Ruby Street.
POTENTIAL SPECIAL SERVICE AREAS
Possibly Starting in 2016
• Jefferson Street
• CenterPoint Intermodal Center-Joliet
For the Future
• Louis Joliet Mall
• Essington Road
• Route 59
• Larkin Avenue
• Ruby Street