Officials in Belleville, Ill., are considering a 5 percent sales tax to be collected on self-storage rent. Suggested by alderman Phil Elmore, the tax is one of several moves being considered by the city to help cover the costs of municipal services and unexpected expenses, such as the need to buy new sanitation trucks or police cars. The city is also discussing whether to require self-storage businesses pay a $50 annual business-license fee, according to the source.
The city’s Ordinance and Legal Review Committee is scheduled to vote on the measure in mid-September. If the committee recommends approval, the city council will review the tax plan on Sept. 21, the source reported.
Mayor Mark Eckert is among those in favor of the proposed tax. “To have a little bit of a tax on there is not a terrible thing,” he told the source. “[Self-storage businesses] certainly will get the services of the city. I mean we’ll have to take care of the roads that lead up them; we’ll have to plow the snow that leads up to the front of the property, and all those things. So, we’re going to be doing our fair share.”
There are about 12 self-storage facilities in the area, though the city hasn’t yet determined which businesses are within city limits and would be subject to the tax. Thus, officials don’t have an estimation on how much revenue the tax would generate, according to the source.
Among the self-storage operators opposed to the ordinance is Trent Overhue, whose family owns Affordable Family Storage (AFS), with 15 locations throughout the Midwest. The company recently received approval to convert a vacant Shop ‘n Save grocery store at 4201 N. Belt W. AFS paid $1.4 million for the 9-acre site and is due to pay the remaining half of the $88,917 property taxes by Sept. 30. Unlike sales tax, property-tax revenue is split among several groups, with school districts receiving the highest percentage, the source reported.
If the tax goes into effect, the cost would likely be passed on to self-storage customers, Overhue told the source. “In my opinion, it’s not needed,” he said. “Our taxes on these buildings are already astronomical. They’re very expensive. Everybody wants to tax storage, but it’s not as lucrative as a lot of [people] think.”
The Belleville ordinance is patterned after one passed in March by Tinley Park, near Chicago. In fact, several Chicago suburbs have self-storage sales tax in place including North Chicago, River Grove and Skokie, according to the source. Though Tinley Park’s tax was set to begin on May 1, it was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. If passed, the Belleville tax would start on Jan. 1.
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