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Local News

Joliet schedules Aug. 24 open house on proposed expansion of downtown tax

JOLIET – The city will hold an open house Aug. 24 to discuss the proposed expansion of the downtown business tax.

The city of Joliet wants to expand the special service area where the property tax applies to Cass Street, Collins Street and South Chicago Street.

The meeting will be from 4 to 6 p.m. at City Hall, 150 W. Jefferson St.

“This open house is to encourage individual dialogue on the proposal from interested parties,” a city news release issued Wednesday about the meeting states. “In the open house format, individuals may attend at any time during the two-hour event.”

The expansion of the special service area would result in an 8.6 percent property tax increase for eligible property owners in the expanded district, according to the news release.

The tax would apply to business, commercial and industrial property in the special service area.

The city wants to expand the special service area to fund artificial turf at Silver Cross Field, redevelopment of Chicago Street, the creation of a Van Buren Plaza downtown and several other projects.

The plan was presented to the City Council in June but no vote was taken. The council is expected to vote Sept. 6 on whether to move forward with the plan and hold a public hearing in October. The council would take a final vote in December, and the tax would be implemented in 2017.

People in the proposed area could stop the district from being formed if 51 percent of owners and electors file an objection within 60 days after the public hearing is held.

The downtown special service area has been in place since 1980 and generates about $400,000 a year that funds the Joliet City Center Partnership and other activities to promote the downtown area. The expanded tax is estimated to generate an additional $230,000 a year.

The tax is 95 cents per $100 in assessed value.

The news release directs those with questions about the special service area to call Economic Development Director Steve Jones at 815-724-3734.

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