Finance Committee sends recommendation to extend Enterprise Zone to aldermen

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QUINCY — The Quincy City Council’s Finance Committee voted Monday night to send a couple of items for the full council at its Aug. 9 meeting.

Committee members voted to send the council a proposal to extend the city’s Enterprise Zone boundary to the Mid Town Business District. However, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity suggested the city enter into an agreement with each MTBD property owner that stipulates the property owners only will use the sales tax exemption but not the property tax abatement allowed through the enterprise zone. 

The MTBD has three property owners — Charles and Kathie Marx, who own building containing the CVS pharmacy and former County Market grocery store at 30th and Broadway; Quincy Cullinan LLC, which owns all but one of the stores in the Quincy Town Center at 33rd and Broadway as well as all stores between the Marx building and the Town Center; and the Larson Family Real Estate Trust, which owns the Slumberland building in the Town Center. 

Not included in the Enterprise Zone are McDonald’s, 3201 Broadway; First Mid Bank and Trust, 3233 Broadway; IHOP, 3311 Broadway; and First Bankers Trust Company, 3333 Broadway. No businesses east of the former Sears building, 3347 Quincy Mall Drive, are included in the Enterprise Zone.

Chuck Bevelheimer, the city’s director of planning, said the three property owners have agreed to the proposal. Once aldermen approve the proposal, the city must hold a public hearing and then execute the ordinance to add the territories to the Enterprise Zone and amend the Quincy/Adams County/Brown County Enterprise Zone Intergovernmental Agreement.

The committee also voted to send a budget amendment to the full council. 

Comptroller Shari Ray told the committee that the city’s sales tax and home rule tax collections are expected to collect a combined $1.3 million more than they did last year.  The budget must be amended to account for the extra dollars.

Ray credited those increases to the Leveling the Playing Field for Illinois Retail Act that was enacted beginning Jan. 1, 2021. The act implements a series of structural changes to the Illinois sales tax laws to require “remote retailers” to remit state and local retailers’ occupation taxes. The changes are intended to “level the playing field” between Illinois-based retailers and remote retailers.

“Anybody who is shipping anything to Quincy, it used to be those companies paid a use tax to the state of Illinois, and the state distributed it back to us,” Ray said. “Now, it’s on a destination based ZIP (code).”

Ray also noted that the Illinois Municipal League projections for how much tax would be collected by income tax, use tax and personal property replacement taxes were low, and an extra $941,670 is projected to be collected.

“Those (IML) numbers were used when we adopted our budget,” Ray said.

The committee is proposing $465,000 of the extra revenue will be used to cover salaries and benefits that are part of contract negotiations. Another $250,000 is proposed to be spent on pensions, with $15,000 earmarked for painting the Amtrak station at 30th and Wismann Lane and $7,000 to go to the Quincy Fire Department’s vehicle replacement fund.

The proposal called for setting aside the rest of the money, with $500,000 possibly going to the pension reserve and possibly $1 million going to the health insurance reserve.

“We can wait to spend that money until October or November when we pass the property tax levy,” Ray said. “Instead of raising property taxes, if we use other other city dollars, we might not have to raise property taxes.”

Committee chairman Mike Rein, R-5, said aldermen could could come up with other ideas for that $1.5 million.

“Quite possibly, they might come up with a capital project,” he said. 

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