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Sycamore City Council green-lights October restaurant, bar tax waiver

SYCAMORE – Sycamore city officials officially have OK’ed a plan to provide financial help for local restaurants and bars struggling to stay afloat amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sycamore City Manager Brian Gregory said staff previously recommended to city elected officials the waiver of October restaurant and bar tax for local restaurants and bars that are in good standing with the city and up-to-date on their tax payments. He said the thought was to help restaurants and bars who typically provide indoor dining and are struggling under enhanced mitigations from Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, including no indoor dining and limited outdoor dining.

“Many of these businesses are really a huge part of Sycamore,” Gregory said. “They’re places that we all socialize at, they’re part of the community. Many of those business owners give back in many ways to our community. And so this recommendation is a small way we can provide some relief to those that are impacted.”

Gregory said the proposal would provide 30 days for businesses who haven’t previously remitted their taxes to get in good standing with the city and to take advantage of the waiver.

“This is real. The impact is very real in our businesses and it’s something we’ve talked about,” Gregory said. “And it’s a small way [to help], but we’ve seen as recent as last week, that The Pantry Cafe downtown announced that they’re going out of business. Earlier this year, we saw the new Hardee’s store close their doors. Over the weekend, you may have seen that Taxco is temporarily closing as they work through the struggles of COVID-19.”

Third Ward Alderwoman Nancy Copple echoed Gregory’s comments.

“Right before I came on, I saw on Facebook that Cassie’s Corn Crib is set to close, too,” Copple said.

The Sycamore City Council voted, 7-0, in favor of the waiver during the Monday meeting. During the roll call vote, First Ward Alderman said, “Absolutely, yes,” and Fourth Ward Alderwoman Virginia Sherrod said, “By all means, yes.”

Gregory said the city typically collects about $100,000 per month in restaurant, bar and packaged liquor tax revenue.

As city officials continue going forward amid the pandemic, Gregory said, they can discuss other ways to be able to help local businesses.

“But I think this is one small step that hopefully provides some small relief to these businesses,” Gregory said.

Gregory said any businesses with additional questions about the waiver can call the city’s finance office.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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