Tax break aims to keep Bentley dealer in Downers Grove
By Bob Goldsborough Special to the Tribune Dec. 27, 2011
The Downers Grove Village Council unanimously approved a 10-year sales tax rebate agreement aimed at keeping the Bentley of Downers Grove luxury auto dealership on Ogden Avenue and providing incentive to increase its annual sales.
The pact approved this month requires the dealership, at 310-330 Ogden Avenue, to remain in its current location for at least the next 15 years in order to keep all of the sales tax dollars the village would rebate. Bentley of Downers Grove also would be required to make significant improvements to its 2.3-acre property, including repairing its existing parking lot, landscaping its site, improving fencing and bringing all signs into conformance with the village’s sign codes.
In exchange, Downers Grove agreed to rebate 50 percent of the annual sales tax each year that Bentley of Downers Grove would pay to the village once the dealership exceeds a hurdle of $5 million in retail sales.
Downers Grove officials said the improvements to the facility are expected to generate an additional $400 million in sales over the base amount during the 10-year life of the deal. If that happens, then after the payment of the sales tax rebate as spelled out in the agreement, the village would reap an additional $2 million in revenues over the 10-year period.
In defending his support of the agreement, Downers Grove Mayor Martin Tully alluded to recent jockeying among governmental entities to keep the corporate headquarters of Sears in Illinois.
“The very essence of the free market is hearty competition, and if anyone thinks for a moment there isn’t a lot of competition amongst municipalities for businesses that can keep their…tax base alive and well, then you haven’t been reading the Tribune or watching TV in the last couple of weeks,” Tully said. “We have to maintain what we have and work constantly to attract new, vibrant enhancements to our economic base. That’s how we keep our (tax) rate down. Keep the base up, try to keep the rate down. So things that we can do that are responsible and that ultimately are to the benefit of the village, I think, are not only worth pursuing but, I think, are worth supporting. This is one source of revenue that (is staying) in the Village of Downers Grove, and not somewhere else.”