Rolling Meadows aldermen back plan to offer restaurants incentives
Most Rolling Meadows aldermen voiced support this week for a proposal that would provide restaurants with financial incentives to lure them to town.
Aldermen John D'Astice, Mike Cannon, Nick Budmats and Laura Majikes signaled their preference to proceed with a formal city ordinance that would establish an incentive program that mixes sales-tax sharing and reduced permit fees to anyone who opens a full-service restaurant in the city.
D'Astice brought an initial proposal to the council last October; since then, it's been refined over the course of five meetings of the city's economic development committee.
"I tried to not be overbearing. I wanted the members of that committee to look at it and make this a worthwhile plan," D'Astice told aldermen at a city council committee-of-the-whole meeting Tuesday night. "It's different than what I first proposed, but I think overall it's a good incentive for people who are renting and purchasing space."
The plan calls for offering any individual, group or small business that purchases or rents space for a new restaurant:
• A food and beverage tax-sharing agreement where the city rebates 40 percent of taxes for the first year and 20 percent for the second year. (The rebate would be given after the restaurant is open and operational for a year).
• The cost of city permit fees reduced up to $5,000 (or for renters, up to three months rent, whichever is lower).
The city also would require a business and marketing plan and for the business to be open within a year of the purchase or lease being inked.
D'Astice's original proposal called for offering a mix of cash (up to $10,000), property tax breaks, waived permit fees and sales tax sharing to restaurateurs, as well as finders fees to anyone who refers a new restaurant.
The plan also called for incentives for restaurants that open along Kirchoff Road between Wilke Road and Route 53 -- the city's traditional downtown where residents have clamored for sit-down eateries. The revised plan, recommended by the economic development committee, would make the incentives available citywide.
D'Astice and Budmats have since suggested a tiered incentive plan in which Kirchoff Road restaurants could get a bigger share of food and beverage taxes.
Only one aldermen at Tuesday's meeting, Robert Banger Jr., opposed the incentive plan, saying it would "pick winners" and be unfair to restaurants that may open just before the council puts the program in place.
The council is expected to consider an ordinance on the program after the city attorney drafts it.