In a June 15 letter, former Village President Bill Sarto chastised Carpentersville for considering a new Walmart Superstore in the Route 25 TIF District. Unfortunately his letter was filled with inaccuracies and innuendo; and for a former village president, it displayed an astonishing lack of vision.
The TIF District was proposed in 2009, long before Walmart or any other retailer expressed an interest in relocating to Carpentersville. The 2011 TIF eligibility study clearly confirmed that the area around Meadowdale Shopping Center was eligible for and in need of TIF assistance. The property included in the TIF had declined in equalized assessed value from 2005 to 2010 by nearly 40 percent, a trend of more than 30 years.
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Mr. Sarto makes the false assertion that all of the TIF funding is being used by Walmart. In fact, they have requested $4.3 million for their improvements, a fraction of the $30 million that could be authorized. He also warns of "devastating repercussions" to area businesses if Walmart comes to town.
He mentions Fresh Market, Ace Hardware, Walgreens and the auto parts stores as vulnerable, but he disregards the specialized nature and convenience of these retailers. Fresh Market has been firmly established among Hispanics by offering specialty foods that Walmart is unlikely to sell. The auto parts stores sell merchandise that dwarfs the offerings of a typical Walmart. Some businesses may be impacted, but the net gain in jobs and tax revenue will be substantial.
Finally Mr. Sarto suggests that Carpentersville "stole" Walmart from East Dundee. Several court decisions have already dismissed that idea. But it begs the question -- if having a Walmart in town is such a terrible idea, why has East Dundee taken such extraordinary measures to keep theirs?
William S. Hicks
Carpentersville Business Development Commission,
Route 25 TIF District Joint Review Board