Rock Island business and property owners react to proposed tax increase

The tax increase would be 1.15% over the next five years
Rock Island sign in downtown Rock Island
Rock Island sign in downtown Rock Island
Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 9:09 PM CDT
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ROCK ISLAND, Ill. (KWQC) - Many downtown Rock Island business and property owners support the proposed tax increase by the Rock Island Steering Committee to fund the special service area. Others think the city already has enough taxes and wants their money to go toward something other than city employee salaries.

The special service area taxing district would raise taxes for property and business owners in the downtown Rock Island district if passed by the Rock Island city council.

Jon Keim, a member of the Rock Island Steering Committee as well as the owner of Huckleberry’s Great Pizza and Calzones on 18th street is in full support of the proposed tax increase as he believes it will benefit the owners more than it will hurt them.

“Let’s look at it in a collaborative way. And let’s look at it as we’re supposed to have been studying this,” Keim said. “So people got information that could work back and forth. And just think it’s the process that has to happen. It has to go forward. There’s no other choice. Downtown Rock Island’s got a lot to offer.”

Other business owners such as Penni Steen of Skellington Manor were on board with the guidance the SSA would provide.

“Now that they are on board, it’s really nice that we have a dedicated team of people that are working with the business owners to try to improve the business,” Steen said. “The area, the streets, just everything about and to promote new business feature, the businesses that are here, you know, we’re really willing to make an investment in bringing Rock Island back.”

Several other businesses and property owners declined to comment on camera and wished to remain anonymous stated that the tax increase going toward paying the salaries of city employees rather than directly impacting their businesses and surrounding areas was what was holding them back from getting on board with the proposed budget which is still in draft form.

The vote for this proposal will take place at the Rock Island city council meeting next Monday, August 8.

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