JOLIET – The Joliet City Council is scheduled to vote Tuesday on a plan to create three new business taxing districts in the city.
City officials have added the Louis Joliet Mall area to two others proposed earlier and want to begin collecting property taxes from the proposed areas next year.
"We're trying to get on this year's tax levy," City Manager Jim Hock said Friday. "If we wait until February or July, we've lost a year."
The city is proposing Special Service Areas that would create a property tax applied only to the those areas and to generate funds used in those areas. Two other SSAs on the agenda for Monday are a Jefferson Street corridor and a broad area on the south end of the city that includes CenterPoint Intermodal Center-Joliet, Chicagoland Speedway and Hollywood Casino.
The proposal also is on the agenda for discussion Monday during the City Council's workshop session.
The plan was first presented at a council committee meeting less than two weeks ago and was so new then that it was not on the agenda.
Businesses in Joliet are just beginning to learn about the proposal, and representatives from the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry met with Hock on Thursday to ask questions about the plan.
If the council approves the plan, the city would still need to hold public hearings for each proposed SSA. The council would then need to give final approval before the SSAs would go into effect.
The Chamber Friday morning sent an email to members saying it has urged the city "to slow down as much as possible."
"In addition, it is of extreme importance that all possible taxed properties be notified, be given an opportunity to share their thoughts as to how this will affect their property taxes, and receive a proper timeline of expectations," the email states.
Hock said the city wants to begin collecting taxes next year so staff can be hired to work on economic development in the proposed SSAs. Without the new tax, the city would not have the money to hire additional economic development staff, he said.