Niles trustees reject sales-tax hike for Golf Mill mall
Updated: April 2, 2012 7:56PM
Golf Mill Shopping Center was denied a partnership with the village of Niles when only one trustee voted to support the establishment of a special business district at the board meeting on March 27.
Four trustees voted against approving the establishment of the district, which would have created a sales-tax increase of .25 percent, or 25 cents on a $100 purchase.
Trustee Andrew Przybylo was the only trustee to support the proposal. Trustee Joseph LoVerde was not at the meeting.
Each year Golf Mill Shopping Center provides $2.7 million in sales taxes to the village of Niles, which is 12 percent of total village sales-tax revenue.
If the business district had been approved the revenue would have supported a plan that includes a new 30,000-square-foot junior department store; a three-tenant, 8,400-square-foot building on Milwaukee Avenue, sewer and water-main improvements; and facade and sidewalk improvements. Mall representatives had stated several times in the past that the projects are crucial in order for the shopping center to stay competitive with other nearby malls, and remain the “Crown Jewel of Niles.”
During a 20 year period $7 million was expected to have been generated by the rejected mall-sales-tax increase, and Golf Mill ownership would have dedicated about $8 million if the $15 million in improvements were approved.
“I was very impressed with what is being proposed regarding flooding issues, signage and aesthetics,” Przybylo said.
But Przybylo recommended using money generated from a quarter-cent, village-wide sales tax implemented in January instead of creating an additional sales-tax increase at Golf Mill.
“I have a real problem raising the sales tax again after we just raised it,” he said.
Resident Pat Argyrakis urged the board not to partner with Golf Mill to raise the sales tax.
“We will be the highest taxing body in the state of Illinois,” Argyrakis said.
Village trustees recently took a behind-the-scenes tour of Golf Mill with mall representatives. Trustee Chris Hanusiak said the shopping center has a flooding problem caused by a maintenance issue that mall management should have handled.
“Roofs weren’t maintained,” Hanusiak said. “This is their home and it wasn’t maintained.”
Trustee Rosemary Palicki echoed Hanusiak’s concerns about the lack of maintenance at the mall.
“Golf Mill is a big part of Niles,” said Resident Mike Shields, who supported the establishment of the business district, but also felt it was important for the mall to continue to commit funds to make improvements. “Golf Mill does have to succeed.”
Shields noted that Golf Mill was “dated looking” and could benefit from the planned improvements.
So, what’s next for Golf Mill now that the business district was not approved?
Manager Mike Williams said the mall is still committed to making various improvements and would like to explore the possibility that Przybylo suggested regarding using funds from the recently implemented village-wide sales-tax increase. Finance Director Scot Neukirch said that about $2.1 million a year is expected to be collected from that tax hike.
Williams said he wished the village would have decided to be a partner with Golf Mill.