City pursuing sales tax revenue

Pam Monson

The city isn’t sure it’s receiving an accurate report of sales from a business at the RidgePort Logistics Center and is trying to work with the business to iron things out.
City administrator Frank Koehler told the council last week that he is trying to resolve issues with Ozinga Concrete and its sales tax reporting. Of the 7 percent sales tax applied to purchases here, 1 percent flows back to the city.  
Koehler said the city has received some tax, but he’s trying to make sure the city is getting an accurate report of sales and receiving the amount of tax officials think the city should be getting.
Koehler also met recently with Dave Tsak, administrator of the Joliet Arsenal Enterprise Zone, to talk about sales tax exemption certificates in RidgePort Logistics Center. Eligible purchases from the concrete plant are exempt from the 5.25 percent state portion of the sales tax.
Koehler reported he sent a letter to Ozinga Concrete requesting that the business establish a Point of Sale entity in RidgePort and notifying the company it has to register as a business in Wilmington.
In other business before the council:
• The council agreed to make tax increment financing district payouts not to exceed $990,485, the 2015 tax increment paid in 2016. The city will be deducting reimbursements for its expenses that haven’t been paid from the fund because the money wasn’t there.
City accountant Kim Doglio said at its next meeting the council will see the amounts going out to the developer, as well as expenditures being paid back to the general fund. The city has to approve the eligible expenses before payment is made.
• Yard waste pickup begins the week of April 3 through Nov. 24. Yard waste can be placed in brown paper kraft bags or in 96-gallon yard waste carts available from Waste Management. Branches and brush must be cut into 4-foot lengths and bundled with string or twine. Each bundle may not exceed 50 pounds. Unbundled brush will not be collected. Whole trees and limbs greater than 4 inches in diameter and stumps are not included in the weekly pickup, nor are sod, whole trees and dirt.
• The council approved the 2017 zoning map. Updates included changing 627 S. Water St. from R2 to R3, and annexing and rezoning 58 acres in two actions in the RidgePort Logistics Park.
• The council approved the March 21 accounts payable report in the amount of $353,622 and the February collector’s report in the amount of $334,379.
• The council approved the electric service agreement offered by Dynegy Energy Services LLC. Koehler reported the city had been paying $5.23 per kilowatt hour; next year’s rate will be $5.005 per kilowatt hour, in the second year of the agreement the rate will be $5.155 and in the third year it will be $5.154 per kilowatt hour. The price was negotiated by the Northern Illinois Municipal Electric Collaborative (NIMEC). The City Council’s action was to ratify the agreement, as the council had previously authorized Koehler to approve it.
• The council authorized the purchase of a vehicle for the Emergency Services and Disaster Agency, in an amount not to exceed $67,000, which has been set aside for the purpose in its mobile equipment fund. ESDA will purchase a 2017 F450 Ford crew cab as an all-around tow vehicle. ESDA director Dennis Housman obtained quotes from several dealers in the area. Manteno Ford offered the lowest price, $42,691 for the truck. With emergency lights and lettering, the total will be about $54,500. ESDA will replace a 2001 truck that has over 140,000 miles on it.
• The council approved amendments to ordinances regulating solicitors and street vendors, increased the minimum fines for parking violations to align with the penalties for other city ordinances and created no parking zones on Graaskamp Boulevard, Design Road and Ridge Way in the RidgePort Logistics Center.
The solicitor’s ordinance is virtually rewritten and includes all new definitions, a requirement for a license rather than a permit, and an updated license application process.
• City engineer Colby Zemaitis reported the Union Pacific Railroad’s high speed rail bridge replacement projects have begun. Homer Tree Service has been removing trees from the areas around the railroad bridges over Forked Creek and the Kankakee River, and the railroad’s contractor, Illinois Constructors Corporation (ICC), is creating access roads between the nearest city street and the waterways.
ICC also demolished underground vaults near the construction area on north Water Street just south of the railroad trestle.
“Any voids have been filled in and capped with concrete and taken care of. With the heavy truck vehicles that’s going to be going up and down there, we don’t have to worry about anything collapsing,” Zemaitis said.
• Stripmine Road closure signage is up. The section between Davy Lane and Baltimore Street will be closed about three months while the railroad adds a second track and safety equipment and the Illinois Department of Transportation installs stoplights and re-aligns the road.
Zemaitis said the railroad is unable to provide one lane at a time; when working on railroad crossings and intersections, stoplights have to be functional and operational before you can open the intersection, because everything will be tied in with the railroad activity, he explained.
There has been no movement on high speed rail utility agreements that have to be in place before work at the street crossings begin. The city is holding out for assurance that the city wouldn’t be left with the bill for moving or protecting the municipal water mains if state funding the for the high speed rail projects is pulled.
• The VFW’s request to reduce or eliminate the building permit fees for its new Post at the corner of Baltimore and Third Street was held up in the Finance Committee meeting prior to the council meeting.
Alderman Studer expressed some concerns about not having received a full list of contractors, but Mayor Orr explained some of those blanks are because the veterans are hoping to use a lot of volunteer labor.
Orr suggested proceeding as Alderman Larry Hall suggested at the last council meeting, to refund as much as half of the  $14,000 fee the VFW has already paid at the end of the building project, if conditions have been met in a timely fashion, without need for additional inspections. About $3,200 of the building permit fee would not be included in any consideration for a reduction or refund, because it paid for professional services by Keslin Engineering, which already waived inspection fees.
Orr suggested getting the VFW members in to explain how they plan to proceed with their project, and answer questions so the aldermen will be more comfortable. The VFW leadership will be asked to give a presentation to the committee next month.