A couple of years back, the sky was falling in North Riverside. This gruesome recession had taken a mighty whack at sales tax revenues being thrown off by the town’s many retailers, many at the North Riverside Park Mall. And then, quite unexpectedly, Edward Don, the restaurant supply giant, announced it was ditching town for a better tax incentive package in Woodridge.
Suddenly, the town’s longstanding practice of freezing its property tax levy year after year didn’t look so much generous as short-sighted. Only a token amount — less than a half-million dollars — of property taxes was ever collected and the upside of raising the tax by the maximum allowed under tax caps was seen as too paltry to even bother with.
Now the sun is shining bright with the new Costco open at the Edward Don site and more new restaurants planned along Harlem. And still the town refuses to get into the simple habit of slowly increasing its property tax base. It is a simple matter of striking a balance of funding sources for the next extremely rainy day. It will come.