Northbrook trustees on Tuesday discussed streamlining the application process that prospective businesses use to obtain a Cook County tax incentive for the development of vacant industrial property.
A minimum 45-day public comment period is currently required by the village so affected taxing bodies, including school districts, can provide input during the Class 6b application process. Trustees and Village President Kathryn Ciesla discussed reducing the required time period for public comment to make Northbrook competitive with neighboring communities, some of which have no such requirement.
The Cook County Assessor's office website states that the goal of a Class 6b is to provide a real estate tax incentive for the development of new industrial facilities, with a goal "to attract new industry, stimulate expansion and retention of existing industry and increase employment opportunities."
Trustee Robert Israel said he believed the intent of the 45-day requirement was to garner as much public input as possible.
"I still think it is important to get concurrence or some kind of statement from the other taxing bodies that meet on a monthly, at most, basis," Israel said.
But Northbrook is not in line with other suburbs, Ciesla said, noting that it could take up to 60 days to move through the process.
"While I still want to give folks the opportunity to say something, we need to be in line with other communities we're competing with," Ciesla said. "We're not competitive, and we need to be competitive."
Trustee Muriel Collison suggested a 30-day time period, while Ciesla suggested 14 days.
"In my mind, the priority is getting businesses into our community and having regulations that make sense," Ciesla said. "Northbrook sometimes has a reputation for not being business-friendly, and here's example No. 1."