Vernon Hills Considers Business, Customer Incentives

Article excerpt

Byline: Mick Zawislak

Perennial Lake County shopping leader Vernon Hills is feeling the sales tax pinch and considering incentives to grow and attract business.

Grants or loans and sales tax rebates are potential tools the village board will consider to protect its commercial base in a down market filled with hungry competitors. Staff has suggested a 1 percent tax on food and beverages to fund the grant or loan program.

In a separate matter, a gift card promotion for the holiday shopping season, also is being considered. That would provide $50 to be spent at local businesses once a shopper spends $500. The proposed program would apply to the first 2,000 applicants.

Both will be discussed today by the village board during its work session following the regular board meeting at 7 p.m. at village hall, 290 Evergreen Drive.

Supporting its economic base has become a key concern of the village, as it does not levy a local property tax and relies in large part on sales tax revenues for day-to-day operations.

Vernon Hills stores report more than $1 billion in annual sales, of which the village gets 1 percent. But the economy has taken a toll. …