City mulling future of Waterloo Commons

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The Waterloo City Council is deciding whether to extend the length of a business district created as part of the relocation of Schnucks several years ago.

An ordinance establishing a Waterloo Commons Business District began Jan. 22, 2007. When The DESCO Group developed this new area between Route 3 and North Market Street that includes Schnucks and other businesses, a one percent business district retailers’ occupation tax and a business district service occupation tax were implemented.

“Basically, this is an additional one percent sales tax on sales of tangible personal property other than property titled, sales of food for human consumption which is to be consumed off premises where it is sold (other than alcoholic beverages, soft drinks and food that has been prepared for immediate consumption), and prescriptions and non-prescription medicines, drugs, medical appliances, etc.,” Waterloo finance director Shawn Kennedy explained.

The additional tax collected by the state would be put into a business district fund, whereas the proceeds would be used to pay development project costs. The development project costs to be reimbursed were tied to a business district note not to exceed $900,000.  

This note is set to mature on Dec. 31.

In order to comply with the Illinois Department of Revenue, the city passed an ordinance dissolving the business district and terminating the one percent tax.

“We were then approached by The DESCO Group to extend the business district to the full limit provided by statute of 23 years to January 2030 and extend the maturity of the note as well,” Kennedy said.

Since the city just dissolved the business district and terminated the tax in September, the city is now required to hold a public hearing to consider ordinances extending the terms of this business district.

This matter was discussed during a committee meeting last Monday night. 

“Is it worth the one percent for the next 10 years?” alderman Stan Darter asked.

Kennedy said at the meeting that not much of the principal has been paid off in this district because it has not really developed as planned. 

Since the city already notified the Department of Revenue to terminate the tax, if the city did approve proposed amendments proposed by The DESCO Group, this tax would not be re-instated until July 1, 2020.

“We are currently checking to make sure everything is legal and we have the option to even do this,” Kennedy stressed.

A public hearing on the matter has been set for 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 16 at Waterloo City Hall.

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