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Council Divided on Special Service Area in Anticipation of Portillo's

City Council held a policy session Tues. to discuss tax incentives in so-called Special Service Areas. The subject is part of the ongoing discussions with the developer of a Portillo's restaurant in Peoria.

Councilman Chuck Grayeb says the incentives are misconstrued as corporate welfare.


"That is implicit in the analysis many people give this," Grayeb said. "They really don’t understand it. They think that we’re providing corporate welfare and we’re not.

Council member Sid Ruckriegel disagreed, saying property owners benefit directly from taxpayer dollars.

"The end of the day that parcel of land with its improvements that the citizens paid for, gets to be either transferred to their heirs or gets to be sold," he said. "I’d be careful by saying this is not corporate welfare."

The city of Peoria has created several Special Service Areas, or SSA’s, in the past. They allow additional real estate or sales taxes on a specific property to pay for improvements at that location.

Junction City, Westlake Shopping Center and the Louisville Slugger complex all use SSA’s.

The developer of the new Portillo’s restaurant has requested an SSA.

The council directed city staff to bring suggested SSA guidelines to council at a later date.