Waterloo Commons tax extended

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Pictured, City of Waterloo crews remove snow from Main Street late Monday night. Waterloo Director of Public Works Tim Birk told the Waterloo City Council that snow removal crews worked from noon to 5:30 p.m. Sunday and 6 a.m. to nearly midnight Monday to clear the roadways in town. Birk added that 400 tons of salt were used as of early Monday evening. Waterloo reported nine inches of snowfall Sunday and Monday, which was among tops in the entire St. Louis area. “And we’re trying to find out whose fault it is,” Mayor Tom Smith joked, giving a reference to popular local celebrity John Reed.

By a vote of 6-2, the Waterloo City Council approved measures Monday night to extend an agreement for the Waterloo Commons Business District  and a one percent tax at Schnucks another 10 years.

During a public hearing held prior to Monday’s meeting, alderman Stan Darter explained why he was voting against the extension.

“Thirteen years ago when this agreement was brought in, we gave DESCO the agreement that they wanted and it was a blighted area,” Darter said. “And 13 years later, they can’t apply for a new one because it’s no longer a blighted area. The only way to do it is to extend the current one, which is factually, I think, contradictory to what the intent of the original agreement was.”

Alderman Kyle Buettner also voted against the measures, with all other aldermen voting in favor.

An ordinance establishing the 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 tax was implemented 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,  and medical appliances.

This additional tax is put into a business district fund, with proceeds used to pay development costs. 

The development costs to be reimbursed were tied to a business district note not to exceed $900,000. This note was set to mature on Dec. 31.

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

The DESCO Group then approached the city requesting to extend this business district, and the tax, to January 2030.

Since the city already notified the Department of Revenue to terminate the tax, this tax will not be re-instated until July 1, 2020.

While alderman Steve Notheisen voted in favor of the extension, he did request that Schnucks and all other businesses in the development disclose the additional one percent tax on customer receipts.

Notheisen said it is “somewhat deceptive” that Schnucks doesn’t currently list a breakdown of taxes on its receipts.

“I will certainly bring it to their attention,” said Hunter Rouse, an attorney representing The DESCO Group.

In other action from the council meeting, aldermen passed a resolution approving the honorary naming of South Market Street from Hartman Lane to Route 3 as the Richard Daugherty Memorial Highway. For our earlier article on Daugherty, click here.

Waterloo Mayor Tom Smith said this was something that had been in the works for more than two years. He credited state Sen. Paul Schimpf (R-Waterloo) for his efforts in getting this approved.

Daugherty, a 1967 graduate of Waterloo High School, died Aug, 26, 1968 when his observation post came under a mortar attack in the Vietnam War.

Since this is an honorary naming, no address changes are required for homes or businesses located along this stretch of roadway.

The council also approved an agreement between the Waterloo Police Department and the Monroe County Circuit Clerk’s Office to implement an electronic ticket program.

With digiTICKET, tickets are printed in officers’ cars through the city’s dispatch system, rather than officers handwriting tickets. The system will also immediately alert officers to information they currently have to call dispatch to receive, like suspended or revoked drivers licenses, prior DUIs, warrants, orders of protection, known gang affiliation, sex offender status and more.

The Columbia Police Department and Monroe County Sheriff’s Department are also using this program.

Lastly, the council approved the purchase of new uniforms for members of the Waterloo Police Department in the amount of $8,227.32 from Heroes in Style of Swansea. 

Waterloo Police Chief Jeff Prosise said his department will change to black uniforms from the tan-colored uniforms used currently.

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