Romeoville Mayor John Noak touted the village’s fiscal health, economic growth and several projects in the works at his annual “State of the Village” address on Tuesday at the Edward Hospital Athletic and Event Center.
Noak said the village ended fiscal 2017-18 with a budget surplus of $3.7 million and residents are paying about $100 less today than in 2008, adjusted for inflation. The village also has a $28.8 million fund balance, which is 162 percent more than it had in 2008.
The village also has been able to decrease its local tax rate per $100 of equalized assessed value from about 1.2981 percent in 2015 to 1.2419 percent in 2017. Residents also received extra money through water bill relief for the eighth year in a row in 2018.
The mayor also touched on the state of big-box retail stores in the area and acknowledged the reality of big names such as Sears recently closing down in Will County.
“We’re not immune to this,” Noak said. “No community is immune to the changing landscape of retail right now.”
But Noak added that the village saw a record number of retail sales during fiscal 2017-18 of $663 million, up from about $410 million ten years ago.
Walmart was the biggest seller during that time but, Noak added, Amazon is not far behind. Amazon is actually the largest employer in the village with more than 1,600 employees.
Noak added that there were 92 new businesses established in Romeoville in 2018, bringing the total to more than 900 businesses today, another record. The village has doubled its workforce since 2008.
The mayor touched on a number of transportation projects underway in the village, including the reconstruction of the Interstate 55 interchange on Weber Road. The new interchange will be a diverging diamond to help traffic flow and reduce accidents. The Romeoville Metra station recently expanded its parking after only a year in service.
Noak also talked about the many new businesses coming to the village. One notable new development is a proposed entertainment, hotel and conference center near the intersection of Weber Road and Normantown Road. He said there could be a movie theater added to that area and spaces for multiple restaurants.
There also has been progress made with potential new contracts to fill the large empty property vacated by Dominick’s in 2014 and the property that used to be Target, which closed last February.
Finally, the mayor also talked about the importance of the village’s industrial corridor, which he called one of the strongest in the country. Industrial property taxes make up about 41 percent of the taxes collected by the village.