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Local News

Joliet eyes more oversight, more taxes on logistics industry

A truck crosses a Route 53 intersection on the south end of Joliet.
A truck crosses a Route 53 intersection on the south end of Joliet.

A proposal to license Joliet warehouses moved ahead this week, one of a few signs that Joliet is looking for some control of the thriving logistics industry and the trucks it brings to town.

The Joliet City Council Economic Development Committee gave a preliminary OK to the warehouse licenses and an alternative tax on truck terminals that has been in the works for the past year.

Committee Chairman Larry Hug rejected an alternative tax on standalone truck parking lots, saying Joliet should not allow them at all.

“We’re not here to be the parking lot for the entire logistics corridor from Tinley Park to Morris,” Hug said, arguing that truckers from nearby communities are parking semitrailers in Joliet when not using them.

The warehouse licensing proposal is aimed at getting a better grasp of the warehouse operations in town, economic development specialist Derek Conley told the committee.

“We want to start tracking those businesses in the buildings,” Conley said “We want the data.”

The licensing procedure also would provide the city better oversight to ensure warehouse operations are in compliance with regulations, Conley said.

He noted that once a warehouse is built, businesses can move in and out without city approval, leaving staff unaware of what’s in the building.

Warehouses would pay an annual licensing fee of $250 to $1,000, depending on the size of the buildings.

No one objected to the warehouses’ licenses at the Wednesday committee meeting.

Conley also proposed an alternative tax on truck parking facilities aimed at generating the revenue those sites would produce in property taxes if warehouses were built on them.

There is a need for truck parking to accommodate warehouse operations in town, Conley said.

Hug disagreed.

“Fifty percent, as a guesstimate, are not picking up loads,” Hug said. “It’s a way to store their trucks. It makes us a parking lot.”

Hug and the committee, however, did go along with a proposal for an alternative tax for truck terminals where goods are loaded and unloaded. Those sites also generate relatively low property tax revenue because there is little construction.

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