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New Taxes May Head Off $1.85M Village Deficit

Utility, gas, sales and liquor taxes among those on the table, but the property tax levy not expected to go up.

Plainfield could establish taxes on liquor and restaurant food and beverages and/or increase utility, gas and sales taxes to stave off a 2012-13 budget deficit of about $1.85 million, the was told Monday.

The village would net about $120,000 for every quarter percent of tax charged to food and beverages and $30,000 for every quarter percent of tax charged on liquor, according to the proposal laid out by Village Administrator Brian Murphy.

Up until now, the village has not collected either tax. While taxing liquor is still relatively unusual for municipalities, especially in the southwest suburbs, food and beverage taxes are becoming more common. Locally, Bolingbrook charges 1.5 percent and Joliet, Naperville and Romeoville each charge 1 percent.  

As for the other taxes, a quarter percent sales tax increase could bring in an additional $725,000, a quarter percent utility tax hike could net about $150,000 and a 1-cent-per-gallon increase in the gas tax would generate about $180,000.

Plainfield currently collects a 1 percent sales tax, 5 percent utility tax and a 2-cent gas tax.

By comparison, Bolingbrook and Romeoville come in higher than Plainfield in all three categories. Both towns have a 1.50 percent sales tax and a 6 percent utility tax. Bolingbrook collects a 5-cent gas tax and Romeoville 4 cents.    

Trustees generally seemed amenable to the concept of creating new taxes or increasing existing taxes if it means holding the line on property taxes.

“If we have to raise taxes, we have to raise taxes,” Trustee Jim Racich said. “If we keep the pain to a minimum, we’ll be doing our job.”

Murphy has not made a recommendation on anything other than keeping the , which is the same as what was collected for the 2011-12 budget year ending June 30.

The argument in favor of raising taxes on items such as gas or food is that some of it is paid by people who live outside of Plainfield, Murphy said.

The tax rate, which determines how much will be collected from property owners for every $100 of equalized assessed valuation, must be set before the end of December. If the board follows Murphy’s suggestion, people whose property values have stayed the same will see a very small increase in the taxes paid to the village.

Anyone who saw a decrease in values should also see a drop in their village tax bill, Murphy said. However, that does not necessarily mean the overall tax bill will decrease. Each taxing body sets its own tax rate, and the amount paid to Plainfield is only about 5.7 percent of the total tax bill. is the largest taxing body, accounting for about 64 percent of the bill.

Ram Seichert November 15, 2011 at 03:53 PM
Trustee Racich - If we have to extend Van Dyke Road, we have to extend Van Dyke Rd. If the construction company keeps the dust and debris to a minimum, they'll be doing their job.
Larry November 15, 2011 at 05:27 PM
Oh, keep the property tax the same. That's all these people keep saying is "We haven't raised property taxes". In the past two years the Mayor and board have raised my water bill almost 40%. They have increased fees on other services as well. They sound just Blagojevich. Why don't we sell all of those buildings we own in downtown Plainfield and the acres and acres of land we own around the village. the Riverfront project isn't going to happen for decades and the unless I missed the construction the Star line isn't coming either. The village paid over 400,000 for the Scuba shop. Maybe we could get 250,000 for it now. The Star line property we could maybe sell for 40 cents on the dollar. Maybe we could lease the 10,000's of sq feet that sit unused in Village Hall and the Police station? Raising taxes on restaurants is a real bad idea. We can't keep the ones we have now open for business. Why not put a special 2% tax on F&B on downtown businesses to recoup the 10 million spent on Main Street. That has worked out well.
Sheila Raddatz November 15, 2011 at 06:12 PM
I agree, Larry. It has already been proven that millions of dollars leave Plainfield with that study from a while back. Taxing our existing businesses instead of promoting new business is only a band-aid at best.
Ram Seichert November 15, 2011 at 06:40 PM
Larry, lets extend Van Dyke Road so we can get to Village Hall faster to make public comments. Van Dyke Road must happen to further develop this community.
Sheila Raddatz November 15, 2011 at 06:47 PM
Expand Van Dyke? Yes and No. They are already voting to expand 30 tomorrow. We need traffic to slow down (or stop) and spend some coin throughout our town, not speed by. :o)
mario November 15, 2011 at 07:10 PM
The decision makers need to understand that Plainfiled and Shorewood have almost the same restaurants and stores and the distance is not that bad. Some will pay and say no big deal, not worth the drive but others will simply drive further. Maybe we have a spend problem in Plainfiled that needs to be addressed.
Sheila Raddatz November 15, 2011 at 07:17 PM
Mario, think about the north end of town, too. We are very close to Bolingbrook, Naperville, Oswego and Aurora and those towns offer malls, cheaper gas and generally a larger selection of "anything" that Plainfield currently offers. We almost had a mall come in at the Polo field....that would have been a nice draw for our area.
Jay November 15, 2011 at 07:32 PM
How about cutting spending? How many times do I have sit and watch a bunch of Park District employees sitting in their trucks or walking around for hours doing nothing, while trying to appear that they are working? How about outsourcing some of the functions that will not only save on payroll, but pension costs as well? How about a salary freeze?
Barry November 15, 2011 at 07:32 PM
Here's an item that is emblematic of the dumb money wasting ideas that are leaders had. They spent 300,000 on an indoor shooting range for the Plainfield Police Dept when they built that huge police station. They borrowed all of that money for 25 years. Principal and interest for 25 years is 675,000. All of this to keep our 50 or so sworn officers shooting straight in case they are involved in a gun fight. The Plainfield Pd could have used Mega Sports for qualification purposes. I'm guessing that the Daniel's family would be more than willing to give the PD a good price. Say $20 per cop per month. That's $12,000 a year or $300,000 for 25 years. Saves us over $300,000 and possibly a real big tax increase. That's how the private sector would have done it.
Neil November 15, 2011 at 07:46 PM
I work in Govt finance and the big problems for communities like Plainfield is bond debt. Plainfield's debt is back loaded to allow for smaller payments in the early 5-7 years. The bond issuers allow this because they assume that the Govt body's tax levy will increase to make up for the larger yearly payments after year 7. Plainfield has to budget more each year from a non growing tax levy to pay these bond issues. What Plainfield does is keep the tax rate the same each year. The tax levy doesn't bring in enough each year to pay the bond debt. That's why other fees have gone up. They use the extra money from other sources to pay the bond debt. If Plainfield raised the rate each year to pay the GA debt our property taxes would go up 30-50 a year. That's why we will see additional taxes added in Plainfield because they do not want to be blamed for raising our property taxes.
Jay November 15, 2011 at 07:47 PM
I sure am glad that that .75 mile extension of the Dupage River trail was put in for $2.54 Million in taxpayer dollars. A trail that doesn't lead to anything but a turn around, with a nice two million dollar bridge. Why didn't the trail extension just go all the way through to the Park District on 135th street? Oh yeah, what happened to the money from the sale of the old police department? That was a hell of a deal for the church, prime location on Route 59 for pennies on the dollar. And wait, aren't churches tax exempt.... As a taxpayer, I sure feel good each day as I drive down 135th street and see the empty parking lot in front of the new Fire Department training center or operations building.....yeah, that's going to save money in the long run.
Bob Stone November 15, 2011 at 07:55 PM
What a great idea!!! Better yet, let's turn Rt 59, Rt 30, and Rt 126 into toll roads through Plainfield. Then, we can re-institute the vehicle sticker program at $50/vehicle, so Plainfield residents wouldn't have to pay the full toll. This would reduce the overall population and traffic issues within Plainfield and we might be able to close that budget gap a little.
Lisa S. November 16, 2011 at 03:06 AM
I live in Plainfield. I don;t buy gas here. I don't buy groceries here. I don't buy clothes here. All those claims of 1/2 a percent more...just one percent more...it all adds up. Main Street and the Riverfront? Newsflash....we aren't ever going to be Naperville. Give it up. The schools? Start cutting from the top and you should have plenty of money.
Ram Seichert November 16, 2011 at 05:13 AM
Lisa, Plainfield can become Naperville. Van Dyke Road must be extended through Wallin Woods and Renwick Road. Without this extension the riverfront will never develop.
Jay November 16, 2011 at 09:40 PM
Van Dyke ends at a Forest Preserve. How would extending the road have a positive effect on developing the riverfront? It wouldn't, there isn't any room to develop anything other than maybe a walking path. If you really think that would turn Plainfield into Naperville, you must not understand the differences between these two neighboring towns.
Sheila Raddatz November 16, 2011 at 09:57 PM
Jay, I agree that it isn't possible to be the next "Naperville"--there simply isn't enough room. What's wrong with being a better Plainfield and stand on our own two feet? I don't like the concept of "riding Naperville's coat tails." Being different on a smaller scale can be just as good or even better.
Ram Seichert November 17, 2011 at 05:36 AM
It gives Plainfield another north/south route and easier, quicker, and future access to the STAR line. It would also increase the development along the river and the south end of town.
Jay November 17, 2011 at 06:05 AM
Sheila, absolutely nothing wrong with trying to be better. Let's just not set the bar at "Naperville". Sam above, doesn't seem to be able to look at a google map and see that extending a road won't morph us into the next dimension.
Ram Seichert November 17, 2011 at 02:41 PM
The extension of Van Dyke Rd is part of the Plainfield Master Plan. It's intent was to extend it from where it dead ends through the south end of town.
Lisa S. November 17, 2011 at 03:17 PM
No...it can't be Naperville. It's a substantially different demographic and geographic. And all the money in the world won't change either. Doe anyone really think the Gap , or any other big box /big name store is going to swoop in and inhabit that area? Why not embrace what we have and give downtown it's own identity. Play up the 'small town' and it will pay off.
Sheila Raddatz November 17, 2011 at 03:19 PM
The "Gap" type stores were supposed to go in the mall at the Polo Field at 119th and 59.
Lisa S. November 17, 2011 at 03:24 PM
And Von Maur, a movie/dinner theater, restaurants, etc. . All would have brought a great deal of taxes, but no more shoppers or diners to downtown.
Lori Janiec November 17, 2011 at 08:03 PM
Having grown up during Naperville's "growing pain" era, I vote NO to becoming NAPERTHRILL. What was once a nice little town became a transient town loaded with snobs and idiots who would vote anything in then be transferred out before the referendums materialized and those left wound up paying the price...literally. Plainfield needs to stop trying to be like it's big Sister Naperville and just be PLAINFIELD.
Miguel Sanchez November 17, 2011 at 10:36 PM
All Plainfield needs to become like Naperville is: Two train stations One University Great Schools (not new; great) Employment that does not involve paper hats or nametags Leadership that is excellent at building and maintaining a positive Village image Let's fix what we have!
Jay November 18, 2011 at 02:09 AM
Very few people live south of Van Dyke, that cannot already use Drauden Road to get north/south through town. Maybe Van Dyke was part of the master plan, but it's no longer needed and I don't see how it would add any value or help develop the riverfront, as you mention above. 59 is now 4 lanes, double the capacity it was just three years ago. You seem to be stuck on this topic, along with the Renwick Road overpass. I think the last thing Plainfield needs is more traffic through Wallin Woods and the park.
Ram Seichert November 18, 2011 at 04:13 AM
Good idea Jay.....lets pack all the traffic on all the other roads and sit in traffic all day. Everyone loves that!
Jay November 28, 2011 at 05:13 PM
Sam, I'm coming to the conclusion that you are either very simple minded, or just can't seem to pivot off the same topic over and over again. Nobody is sitting in traffic because Van Dyke road doesn't go through to Renwick. Very few cars would probably even travel through there, when you have other roads that have become main arteries through the area - Drauden and 59.
Ram Seichert November 28, 2011 at 05:27 PM
What happens when either one of those are under construction Jay? What will happen to one or the other?
Ram Seichert June 01, 2012 at 08:11 PM
It'd sure be nice to have the Van Dyke extension completed now that River Road and Renwick Road are all torn up. Now we gotta waste gas and belch black smoke all over the village to get around. I'll say it just like Jimmy Racich says it about taxes "if we gotta extend Van Dyke Road we gotta extend Van Dyke Road."

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