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Local News

Joliet approves expansion of downtown tax

JOLIET – A property tax applied to downtown businesses will be spread to neighboring commercial corridors in 2017.

The city council this week approved the extension of the downtown Special Service Area to business districts along Cass, Collins and South Chicago.

City officials said this week that only two objections were filed against the tax, which will be applied to 1,224 parcels of property.

One matter still to be resolved is how to handle business-zoned residences within the Special Service Area.

Assistant City Manager Steve Jones said city staff plans to develop a program in the next few months to address residents who do not stand to benefit from the tax, which is aimed at funding economic development.

"There are folks who are living in homes that have business zoning," Jones said. The city will develop some form of tax relief for properties where the owner lives.

The tax will amount to 95 cents for each $100 in assessed valuation. Joliet officials have said property owners will see an 8.6 percent increase in the city portion of their property taxes.

The Special Service Area was created to help develop and market the downtown business district. The revenue funds the Joliet City Center Partnership.

City Manager Jim Hock said that downtown businesses already in the Special Service Area will not see an increase.

"They have been paying this tax for the last 20 years," he said.

One of the proposed uses for the additional revenue is to pay for artificial turf at the Joliet Slammers' baseball stadium, which is owned by the city.

Jones said the city will begin seeking input from businesses in the new corridors regarding what projects they would like to see in those areas.

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