Homewood mayor seeks Cook County tax break to help save car dealership
Monday, March 02, 2009
by John K. Ryan
In an attempt to save the Steve Peters Chevrolet dealership in
Homewood, Mayor Rich Hofeld is asking Cook County to amend its rules
governing a property tax incentive.
The mayor sent a letter
recently to Cook County Commissioner Joan Murphy to waive for 180 days
to a year the requirement that a property needs to be vacant for two
years to receive a Class 8 tax incentive.
it receives the Cook County incentive, the dealership property at 18033
S. Halsted St. would be assessed at 16 percent of market value for 10
years, at 23 percent in year 11 and at 30 percent in year 12, before
returning to the standard 38 percent tax rate for commercial businesses
in year 13.
"If they shut down now, we get nothing," Hofeld said. "They employ
about 50 people and average about $200,000 a year in sales tax revenue
for the village."
Hofeld, who met last week with Maurice Jones, Cook County director
of planning and development, to answer any questions about the request,
said he stressed that the exception should not just be given to the
"I recommended that the county should be a white knight for any
industry the county considers to be in distress, or when a business
changes ownership," Hofeld said.
Murphy said the Cook County Board of Commissioners would be
addressing only the Homewood dealership for now, terming it an
Murphy said she is recommending the requirement be waived for the Homewood dealership, citing the uniqueness of the situation.
"That property is not vacated, the business partnership is
dissolving, and the only way to keep it in business is to get this
incentive," Murphy said. "If it stays in the same (property tax)
classification, it won't make it."
Murphy said commissioners will meet with Cook County Assessor Jim
Houlihan on Wednesday to get approval. She feels confident the idea
will be well accepted.
"We're looking for ways to stimulate the economy," she said.
If the assessor approves, Murphy will poll the other commissioners on the request.
"If they vote in the affirmative, we'll have it ratified at the March 17 (Cook County) board meeting."
Steve Phillipos, one of six partners who own the Homewood
dealership, is looking to restructure the business to make him the
principal owner/operator, but said getting property tax relief is
necessary to do so.
"We went to the village to seek help in getting us tax relief and
keep us going," Phillipos said. "Property taxes in Thornton Township
can put you out of business and that's a tragedy. Some towns wait until
businesses go under then try to get help to recruit business to those
sites. We appreciate Mayor Hofeld working to keep us here."
Hofeld said if the vacancy requirement is waived, he will ask the
village board to give the dealership the Class 8 tax break as well as a
sales tax sharing incentive for the dealership.
"He (Phillipos) is looking for relief on real estate taxes and
getting some working capital from private financing. The sales tax
incentive would help collateralize the loan," Hofeld said.
John K. Ryan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or(708) 802-8807.