By Daniel I. Dorfman
The double whammy of the massive construction work on Lake Cook Road coupled with the reduced occupancy of the Deerbrook Mall took its toll on Deerfield’s sales tax revenue in July, according to a report by Finance Director Eric Burk at Monday’s Village Board of Trustees meeting.
Burk told the Trustees and Mayor Harriet Rosenthal there was a “significant” drop in sales tax revenue from July, 2013 when compared to the same time last year. The exact numbers showed the village brought in $278,420 this July as opposed to $362,457 the previous year. July is the last month that sales tax revenue figures were made available.
Burk said despite the problems in July, that was an improvement from June and one lackluster month does not hurt up the budget projections as a whole. “One bad month is not going to do that, we have to look at the whole year or a multiyear (aspect),” he said.
Rosenthal described the lack of sales tax revenue as an “anomaly” and the slowdown could be traced to the Lake Cook Road construction project that hindered traffic for most of the summer. The facelift to the main artery was a concern of local merchants from the time the first shovels went into the ground and turned out to be true.
“Some of the restaurants and the stores suffered because of the traffic on Lake Cook Road because of the construction,” Rosenthal said. “Now that that is over, I think that will pick back up.”
However, there is still the overall matter of the situation of the Deerbrook Mall, which has been an economic engine for the village, but is now having its problems. A new Jewel may occupy the site, but that is far from a certainty. What is definite is Best Buy has departed, thereby depriving the Waukegan Road shopping center of a major destination retailer.
Rosenthal was non-committal as to whether any new stores will be entering village space anytime soon. “We’re working on it,” is all she would offer at the end of Monday’s meeting.
Discussion of Former Woodfire Building Tabled
Trustees were expected to debate an ordinance at Monday’s meeting regarding Charles Ifergan’s proposal to enhance his property at 360-380 Lake Cook Road, but the item was tabled due to a late change request.
“They are asking to enclose more of the space than they originally planned,” Rosenthal said. She noted the owners were looking for an additional 500 feet of property on the site and they had asked that the Board just move forward and continue to contemplate the project, but she believed it needed to revert back to a lower committee for additional review.
“My sense is that it should go back to the Plan Commission for substantial conformance,” Rosenthal said. The next scheduled Plan Commission meeting is Dec. 12.
Village Manager Kent Street indicated the matter could be revisited rather quickly, specifically at the scheduled Dec. 16 Board meeting if it receives approval at the Plan Commission.
Trustees Pass Tax Levy
With a unanimous vote, trustees authorized a three percent increase in the village’s property tax levy which would translate into a $20 hike in taxes for the owner of a $500,000 home.
Given all the various governmental agencies that are fueled by property tax revenue, the village’s portion of the property tax bill is four percent.
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