Forest Park Sales Tax Referendum Passes


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By Jean Lotus


Shall the Village of Forest Park increase the Retailers' Occupation Tax and a Service Occupation Tax, currently imposed by the Village from 1/2 of 1 percent to 1 percent, pursuant to 65 ILCS 5/8-11-1.3 and 1.4, to be used for expenditure on public infrastructure or for property tax relief or both?"

Yes #Votes / %                             No #Votes / %                                 Precincts reporting

782   57%                                    590  43%                                            10/11


Voters approved an additional .5 percent sales tax for infrastructure in Forest Park at the March 18 primary election.

Fifty-seven percent of voters favored the referendum, with 43 percent voting no. A total of 1,430 voters cast ballots as of Tuesday night, with 10 out of 11 precincts reporting. That was a turnout of 16.21 percent of registered voters, according the to Cook County Clerk's website.

The tax will boost to nine percent the total amount of sales tax paid in Forest Park on purchases such as restaurant meals and consumer goods (excluding grocery food and medicines). Buyers pay between 9 and 10 percent in neighboring towns like Oak Park, Berwyn and Chicago.

The tax is earmarked for infrastructure. Non-home rule villages have been able to vote in incremental sales tax increases for infrastructure since 2002.

The statute is clear about what the money can be used for: "Municipal roads and streets, access roads, bridges, and sidewalks; waste disposal systems; and water and sewer line extensions, water distribution and purification facilities, storm water drainage and retention facilities, and sewage treatment facilities," the statute says. The money can also be used for public schools, the statute says.

"It is our intent to use all of the dollars raised for infrastructure improvements," said Village Administrator Tim Gillian.


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FoPa Watcher  

Posted: July 1st, 2014 2:40 PM

The additional 1/2% sales tax took effect today. Sales tax on non-food/medicine is now 9%.


Posted: March 25th, 2014 8:49 PM

@Jenni -- "16.2% of Forest Parkers..." Actually if you look at the census data for 2010 the voting age population is probably around 11,800 compared to the registered voters of 8,819. So the fraction of votes cast in the referendum is more like 1,520/11,800 ~ 13%.

jerry from forest park  

Posted: March 25th, 2014 4:18 PM

Jenni, you hit the nail on the head, we have been given these rights not earned them. I it they might mean more if were earned.

Jenni Edsell from Forest Park  

Posted: March 25th, 2014 3:57 PM

What troubles me more than the outcome of the vote, is the measley 16.2% of Forest Parkers who actually turned out to vote. Come on folks! Use the rights you have been given!


Posted: March 24th, 2014 2:13 PM

It would be great if we could at least reexamine the possibility of video gaming. Why are so many against or have people begun to turn? Elmwood Parks mayor realized how bad business in town was hurting and approved them. He saw the restaurants closing and said thats enough. Where's our mayor? Cellebrating raising our taxes? Perhaps our village officials should stop fearing losing there jobs and start doing there jobs. Lets reexamine video gaming!!!!!

Dying of from Forest Park  

Posted: March 24th, 2014 12:13 PM

@Observer - I agree with you that it is time to reexamine video gaming. Not to do so is going to put more than half of us out of business in the next 10 years. That being said, food & beverage businesses need to get off their butts and start convincing the people in this town we deserve this. We need to quit blaming other people for our shortcomings. It would be neat if you used your superior intellect to get into the solution with us.


Posted: March 24th, 2014 10:14 AM

@ Dying of Muni...You are spending entirely 2 much time with "resident" You are correct Cook County taxes are ridiculous. You can gripe about it, it's not going down anytime soon..So that leaves you options.. travel outside the county to make your purchases, buy online or move to Florida a real tax haven if that's your permanent address ;) @ Billy I was merely letting my friend Jerry know that your expertise goes way beyond simple arithmetic ;) It's obvious you can handle the abstract ;)

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: March 23rd, 2014 11:54 PM

quantum theory math, huh? Do you mean quantum physics, Obsilly? Quantum mechanics? Quantum theory? Because there is no quantum theory math, genius. Another D209 graduate heard from on the FPR website. More remedial assignments to deal with.

Dying of from Forest Park  

Posted: March 23rd, 2014 9:16 PM

@Observer - We in Cook county succeeded in taxing the sale of cigarettes right out of our county. They are still sold, not so much here. Same thing is happening with new businesses. A business in Forest park that pays sales tax on $100,000 per month pays $24,000 more per year than it's Lake county equivalent. Could this answer why Fiorenza is still closed?

Dying of... from Forest Park  

Posted: March 23rd, 2014 9:08 PM

@Observer - You disrespect the business community with your sarcasm about soaring taxes. The difference between Forest Park sales tax and DuPage/Lake counties is overwhelmingly between 1 1/2 and 2%. So if you want a $1,000 bed from Back to Bed it can be up to $20.00 cheaper to buy in nearby towns. I ask you who really pays for this tax, outsiders or us?

Dying of... from Forest Park  

Posted: March 23rd, 2014 9:04 PM

@Observer - I have no idea of the origin of your comment that I have complaints about street festivals. On the contrary. the path to rebirth would be to have more festivals. I would urge all merchants to get off their butts and support village events. Also, can we once and for all quit talking about just Madison St. Our food and beverage downturn extends throughout the whole village.

Dying of... from Forest park  

Posted: March 23rd, 2014 8:59 PM

@Observer - Thank you for the serious comment. I wish to address the following; First from Prof Friedman to Lord Keynes I fail to find any theorist that supports raising taxes on a depressed business community maybe Todd (It's only a penny on the dollar) Sroger wrote a book I missed!


Posted: March 23rd, 2014 7:08 PM

Thanks Jerry...Indeed, I'm cavalier, sometimes the noun & sometimes the adjective ;)

jerry from forest park  

Posted: March 23rd, 2014 6:03 PM

Observer, since you are pretty much always sarcastic and belittling it is difficult to telling when you being serious or sarcastic. There are times when you present some good solid points and ideas. Then you ruin it by being you.


Posted: March 23rd, 2014 5:15 PM

@ Jerry..I'm going to try and explain in a way that you can comment about a massive tax increase was "sarcastic" which means through ridicule or convey contempt for those who made such a big deal about said tax increase..are you OK ;) Billy can teach you about quantum theory math ;)

jerry from forest park  

Posted: March 23rd, 2014 3:20 PM

Observer, you think a 1/2 percent increase is massive, wow.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: March 23rd, 2014 2:18 PM

Umm, Obsilly? When you multiply numbers, as Dying, etc. was doing, the correct term to refer to that process is (everybody now) multiplication. Your first clue is the product is larger, not smaller (as with division). Another clue is that a "times" sign was used. It's not too late to learn these basic things, Obsilly. But with all the remedial learning you need to attend to, you should stop trying to be clever and start trying to actually be observant.


Posted: March 23rd, 2014 2:02 PM

@ Jerry...What I'm saying is that no matter what the current administration does, doesn't do or implements...the well documented choir against them will snark & complain..I'm hopeful that Madison St. will rise again with better weather...The village should revisit the gaming option. As Billy & Dying of Municipal...fumble over long division...The town folk should be searching for real solutions to the dramatic downturn on Main Street..which started before the massive tax increase ;)

jerry from Forest Park  

Posted: March 23rd, 2014 1:44 PM

So Observer what you are saying is it's ok for the voters to approve the tax increase but they should be ignored on Video Gambling. Well you can't have it both ways. It would be interesting to see what the results would have been if the same number of people would have voted in both elections.


Posted: March 23rd, 2014 11:17 AM

@ Dying of Municipal..OK you wanted a serious comment...You complain that the current administration places a priority on street festivals, no? Now they take action (approved by voters) and infuse some revenue into infrastructure and you basically label it "soaring taxes" that will cripple local businesses..nonsense! I do agree that Madison is turning into a ghost town, perhaps another look at video gaming, Berwyn's Roosevelt corridor is the new Rock Star...literally, time to make adjustments.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: March 23rd, 2014 12:15 AM

Thanks "Still dying." Anyone capable of reading English would know that I was expressing neither a lack of compassion toward those impacted by tax increases nor sunbathing in St. Barts. I feel for those effected by soaring taxes-- they've bitten me more than once. And I can't afford St. Barts and am admittedly more low rent. I was simply questioning your numbers and conclusions. That's called an honest debate. As for Obs, he can't ever be honest or accurate. Just doesn't have what it takes.


Posted: March 22nd, 2014 5:18 PM

@ Dying of; Billy...last I heard he was sunbathing on the southern coast of St. Bart's with spider monkeys...really enlightened him...changed his whole perspective on "stuff" ;)

Still Dying of... from Forest Park  

Posted: March 22nd, 2014 3:33 PM

@Observer - Mr. Dwyer is doing nothing disrespectful by questioning my hypothetical, however you can show me some compassion and respect by commenting on the topic.

Dying of... from Forest Park   

Posted: March 22nd, 2014 3:30 PM

@Mr. Bill Dwyer My figures, unlike my grammar, do not wiggle. Not one bit. They are exact - 100% correct! By the way, are you back yet?

Dying of Municipal Cancer from Forest Park  

Posted: March 22nd, 2014 3:26 PM

@profit margin I'm ill equipped to discuss typical profit margins for Madison businesses. However I do know that many food and beverage operations in all of Forest Park are struggling. It is within this context that I seek to put a human face on a half percent increase.

Bill D  

Posted: March 22nd, 2014 9:39 AM

Wow. Obs. That was deep. As in, knee deep.


Posted: March 22nd, 2014 9:35 AM

@ Billy "Compassion is the antitoxin of the soul: where there is compassion even the most poisonous impulses remain relatively harmless." Showing people a little respect goes a long way too. Eric Hoffer

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: March 22nd, 2014 8:22 AM

Wow, Municipal, I think you have more than a little wiggle room in those figures. Sorry. Not buying your hypothetical.

profit margin  

Posted: March 21st, 2014 10:10 PM

@dying -- you saying that that family business has a profit margin of 50k/1.2M = 4.17% Is that typical for the Madison businesses?

Dying of Municipal Cancer from Forest Park  

Posted: March 21st, 2014 5:34 PM

@Mr. Bill Dwyer, if a family business kept the profit it made (typical sub S business) and if it made 50,000 a year based on 100,000 taxable sales per month you would have; 100,000 x 12 = 1,200,000 (yearly taxable sales) times .005 (Caesar's increase) equals 6,000. 50,000 minus 6,000 = 44,000.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: March 21st, 2014 2:54 PM

I feel for you, Dying of Municipal Cancer from Forest park. Really. But you're conflating what a merchant doing $1.2 mil a year in sales ($100k a month) with the tax hit on a family earning $50,000 annually. This increase will NOT cost that family an extra $6,000 a year. Not even remotely.


Posted: March 21st, 2014 11:38 AM

No Mr. Calderone thank you for once again sticking it to the businesses of Forest Park. We are glad to pay more taxes to you when business has been on a steady deline for years. Perhaps you dont realize how bad things are on Madison? or you dont care? Have you been out after midnight to see how the nightlife that once was booming is now crap? Maybe you and your comittee should work on trying to rebuild Madison industry and not just allies

Dying of Municipal Cancer from Forest park  

Posted: March 21st, 2014 11:00 AM

(2 of 2) ...running a food and beverage operation makes $50,000 per year, you just took $6,000.00 away from them. 3.5 cents, no it's not!

Dying of Municipal Cancer from Forest Park  

Posted: March 21st, 2014 10:58 AM

(1 of 2) @ Chris - I detest when somebody makes a statement like "do you think a 3.5 cent increase on a $7 drink will affect local bar business?" Remember when Todd Stroger said, it's only a penny on a dollar? How did that work out? A merchant who reports 100,000 in sales per month will have to pay 6,000 more a year in tax. Caesar's logic is that it can just be passed on to the consumer - you. The problem is, in a struggling economy price increases can't be passed on. So if a family...

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: March 20th, 2014 4:55 PM

Setting aside for a moment the fact that you can't "improve the future," only the present, I gotta say it's good to see the mayor actually come out of his hole and speak on the issue. Way to be leader, Tony. In an after the fact sort of way.

Anthony T. Calderone from Forest Park  

Posted: March 20th, 2014 4:24 PM

Thank you to everyone who voted to support the non home rule sales tax. This tax just like the one adopted in 2004 will be used to support ongoing infrastructure programming in the village. Your support will allow the village to continue to improve the future for decades to come. Thank you again.

Correct Tax Info  

Posted: March 20th, 2014 8:58 AM

Like any merchant, restaurants and bars do not pay tax on goods/supplies they buy to resell. The tax is collected during the final purchase by the retail customer, diner or drinker.


Posted: March 19th, 2014 10:41 PM

@Taxpayer -- "the increase in tax applies to everything the bar or restaurant buys." Well, possibly the stuff they buy locally. But isn't that negligible for their business? I assume that the bars don't buy from the local liquor stores and the restaurant's don't buy their supplies from Ed's Way or Ultra Foods. So what are you talking about?


Posted: March 19th, 2014 7:30 PM

Just wondering when legalized gambling and other things will be done here to raise the kind of money needed this increase will not bring? Respectfully I voted no.


Posted: March 19th, 2014 7:26 PM

Chris, keep in mind that the increase in tax applies to everything the bar or restaurant buys. Do you really think they are going to be able to keep eating the increases? I hope they can but realistically I don't know how they can continue that. The competition with other towns for our $$ (with people going out less) is tough.

Dying of Municipal Cancer from Forest Park  

Posted: March 19th, 2014 6:00 PM

@Taxpayer To the extent that Forest Park is competing with Berwyn, North Riverside, Elmwood Park, etc., they will not be able to raise prices. The towns with gaming not only aren't raising prices, they are lowering them. As time goes on our food and beverage industry will wither. Ask yourself why Fiorenza still sits empty. Ask yourself why Molly Malone's just re-listed - can't seem to sell at any price. Our restaurants are dying Forest Park, please help us!

getting with the times  

Posted: March 19th, 2014 5:53 PM

@BicyclesStink -- hahaha Check out these graphs bikeshare programs: US car sales:


Posted: March 19th, 2014 5:44 PM

Get with the times and buy a car. If you're truly "green" get yourself one of those "Oak Park" green cars that can only accommodate two. LOL

DesPlaines_South_of_Ike from Forest Park  

Posted: March 19th, 2014 4:25 PM

OK, elected officials, no more excuses on why we don't have a single bike lane, safer pedestrian crossing or approaches to the L stations. This revenue is in the wheelhouse to fix things like this!

Chris from Forest Park from Forest Park  

Posted: March 19th, 2014 4:13 PM

In response to Taxpayer's comment, do you really think that a 3.5 cent increase on a 7 dollar drink will effect local bar business? I do not. As for John, yes there are still many alleys that need to be repaired, mine included. That's why I supported the referendum. 51 new alleys have been done since the 2005 referendum and this should help get the remaining 46 completed. The statute also allows the monies raised to be used to update storm water drainage. I think we are all for that!

John from Forest Park  

Posted: March 19th, 2014 2:37 PM

I voted no over my disappointment in the first increase. I'm still waiting on them to fix our alley. It's full of patchwork concrete and asphalt. All the water runs towards my house and seeps through the foundation. In the winter, I've got a small ice rink from the alley half way up my garage apron that is always a joy. Forest Park, don't screw this up.


Posted: March 19th, 2014 10:00 AM

Another great decision by our town. I hope we all have to buy new cars this year and that the extra money we pay can be spent incorrectly by Commander Tony and his band of followers

jerry from forest park  

Posted: March 18th, 2014 11:41 PM

To the people who voted yes, while I hope you are right lets see what the future brings because if the past holds true you just bought a pig in the poke.


Posted: March 18th, 2014 9:07 PM

This should help the ailing bars in Forest Park! Even higher prices.

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