Or­land Park boosts busi­nesses

$155K in gift cards is­sued to help area com­pa­nies strug­gling amid pan­demic

Daily Southtown (Sunday) - - FRONT PAGE - By Mike Nolan mnolan@tribpub.com

An Or­land Park in­cen­tive pro­gram aimed at giv­ing a lift to busi­nesses strug­gling be­cause of the COVID-19 pan­demic was deemed to be a suc­cess, ac­cord­ing to the vil­lage’smayor.

The Shop Or­land Park pro­gram of­fered Visa gift cards to cus­tomers of restau­rants, re­tail stores and car deal­er­ships, with card amounts vary­ing de­pend­ing on how­much­was spent.

The re­bate pro­gram ran from July 6 to Aug. 2 and shop­pers had un­til the end of last month to turn in re­ceipts and re­bate forms. Ap­proved by the Vil­lage Board in June, the in­cen­tive pro­gram was open to res­i­dents and non­res­i­dents.

Vil­lage of­fi­cials said 1,221 gift cards with a to­tal value of a bit more than $155,000were is­sued.

Of­fi­cials did not have a to­tal dol­lar amount of what was spent by shop­pers who filed re­bate pa­per­work.

“Fro­mour eyes it­was a suc­cess­ful pro­gram,” Mayor Keith Pekau said Fri­day. “It wasn’t a neg­a­tive, that’s for sure.”

He said that in speak­ing with sev­eral car deal­er­ships, they told him that the re­bate pro­gram “helped­move a lot of cars.”

With re­tail sales mak­ing up a large por­tion of the vil­lage’s an­nual rev­enues, the in­cen­tives were seen as away of en­tic­ing peo­ple to re­turn to Or­land Park busi­nesses once COVID-19 re­stric­tions were eased.

Sales tax rev­enue gen­er­ally to­tals about $30 mil­lion an­nu­ally, in­clud­ing money from Or­land Park’s home-rule sales tax of 0.75%.

By com­par­i­son, rev­enue from prop­erty taxes for the cur­rent fis­cal year, which ends Dec. 31, is ex­pected to come in at $13.4 mil­lion. Vil­lage Board mem­bers have in­di­cated they want to re­duce the tax levy for next year as they be­gin­work on the fis­cal 2021 bud­get.

Early on in the pan­demic, vil­lage of­fi­cials es­ti­mated lost rev­enues, such as sales tax, would ex­ceed $4 mil­lion due to re­stric­tions on busi­nesses.

Un­der the re­bate pro­gram, any­one spend­ing $300 to $500 at a store, restau­rant or ho­tel be­tween July 6 and Aug. 2 would re­ceive a $10 Visa gift card, and those spend­ing $500 or more would get a $30 card.

For trans­ac­tions at car deal­er­ships, a $75 gift card would be is­sued on min­i­mum pur­chases of $10,000, with a $150 card for a min­i­mum pur­chase of $20,000 and $225 for amin­i­mumpur­chase of $30,000.

Of­fi­cials agreed to ear­mark $576,000 for the cards and mar­ket­ing the pro­gram. The money had pre­vi­ously been set aside for a pro­gram of­fer­ing low-in­ter­est loans to vil­lage busi­nesses.

The Vil­lage Board had, separately, ap­proved a menu of in­cen­tives meant to help busi­nesses re­gain their foot­ing, in­clud­ing a shar­ing of sales tax rev­enue on a 50-50 split.

Ex­ist­ing re­tail busi­nesses or restau­rants would be el­i­gi­ble for three months’ of tax shar­ing, while new restau­rants that take over va­cant lo­ca­tions as other restau­rants closed could split tax rev­enue they gen­er­ate with the vil­lage for up to 10 years.

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