Sales Tax Opportunities

By: Laura Gibbs
By: Laura Gibbs

Rockford leaders still haven't given the green light for the project. An outlet mall could mean major money coming into the City of Rockford. Landmark Development Groups plan to build an outlet mall at I-90 and Riverside has the potential to bring $40 million of revenue over the next 20 years.

4th Ward Alderman Carl Wasco says, "It creates like 150 construction jobs over the life of the project. I think it was like $7.2 million will come into the economy from those people earning wages. From what I've learned in real estate those wages turn over 7 times in the economy."

But even those statistics aren't enough to get 9th Ward Alderman Bill Timm and 13th Ward Alderman Linda McNeely's vote. These two west side representatives question why the focus seems to be to the east.

Alderman Timm says, "I think it's time that we start taking a look at the west side of Rockford and say what can we do to infill part of the west side."

A plan is going to come before the council that might spread out the growth. 3rd Ward Alderman Doug Mark is suggesting the city uses a percentage of the sales tax generated from a development like the outlet mall and put it into an economic development fund. That money would help areas struggling to advance.

Alderman Mark says, "Whether that be South Main Street, West State Street, Main and Auburn or even East State Street and Fairview those area areas where we are trying to spur development and can use those dollars to help in that matter."

And it wouldn't just be a one time deal. Sales tax revenues from future developments would keep money flowing into areas on the verge of rejuvenation. This plan will soon come before the Planning and Development Committee.

There were not enough aldermen present at Monday night’s meeting to take a vote on the outlet mall. There has to be a two thirds majority or at least 10 aldermen who will vote “yes.” Four aldermen and Mayor Morrissey are attending a convention in Las Vegas.

No decision either on a Minority Business Policy at Monday night’s City Council meeting. The plan was for the city to have a new policy that it would try to buy 25 percent of its goods and services from minority-owned businesses. Five percent of its purchases would come from businesses owned by women.


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