With all the attention on the election this week, few noticed the city council met. In what must have been a record-short 40-minute session conducted by a body known for often convening past midnight, the council continued discussion about taxing downtown restaurants in order to pay for a new parking deck next to the downtown library.
City leaders and Downtown Naperville Alliance representatives are negotiating how to implement a 1.5 percent downtown food and beverage tax that would generate revenue from property taxpayers.
The tax came after state lawmakers passed a bill allowing a defined-area tax to be collected. Before it can truly go into effect, the city would have to obtain written consent from 75 percent of restaurant owners in the affected areas
That council will next discuss the issue on Feb. 19. At issue is the question of fairness and excessive taxation, with downtown restaurants facing the prospect of 1.) already paying higher taxes than restaurants elsewhere in town because of two existing special service areas and 2.) paying more taxes than other downtown businesses because of the citywide 1 percent food and beverage tax.
Good grief! This might actually cause the next steakhouse chain to pause momentarily before deciding to open a restaurant in downtown Naperville.
Why don't we re-open the question, is the library deck really even necessary? With an addition to the Van Buren deck and the new Water Street deck, can't we wait and see if the Nichols Library deck will even be necessary before pulling the trigger? What's wrong with taking a few months to study the impact once those other two decks are operational? What's the harm in that?