The City of Joliet, both staff and council, are basically facing a three-headed monster right now, of “decisions concerning the long-term future.” And that doesn’t even include the overall 2017 budget.
Let’s take the farthest down the road item first. On Tuesday January 3rd, the Joliet City Council will be scheduling a public hearing concerning the proposed TIF district around Presence St Joseph Medical Center. As Economic Development Director and Deputy City Manager Steve Jones explains: action could then be taken at the January 17th Council meeting; for an area around Presence St Joseph where any increases in property tax rates are invested right back into that area. And if the TIF is passed, communication would go into an even higher gear, with a likely meeting involving all the property owners in the area.
But prior to that, we will probably reach a verdict on the Downtown Special Service Area expansion. The old one ends at the end of the year. And if an expanded one is to kick in January 1st, it will need to be passed at the December 20th City Council meeting. That’s the day after the 60 day window expires for objections to be filed to the Council taking action. It 51 percent of businesses in the area do not object, the vote probably happens. Jones says, if you compare the TIF district around the hospital to the downtown service area, they probably have an equal chance of becoming reality. Businesses within the SSA would pay 95 cents per 100 dollars of equalized assessed valuation. Jones says some businesses, such as the Jacob Henry Mansion, have asked about an even larger proposed expanded area; to create even more funding for future development.
Last but not least, the most immediate concern for the Joliet City Council right now: the Rialto Theatre, and will any money for it be included in the 2017 budget. Jones says, he feels some kind of new strategy can be created; to keep the Rialto as a driver in Joliet for economic impact, and culture.
And with or without funding for the Rialto, the Joliet City Council needs to pass a budget before the end of December.
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