Bolingbrook Mayor Roger Claar talked business, raised money for charity and spoke of (possibly) his last term as mayor during Thursday's 2013 State of the Village luncheon.
The Bolingbrook Area Chamber of Commerce hosts the annual event. More than 700 people were in attendance, topping the turnout from 2012.
Claar said he's 99 percent sure that he is running for his final term as mayor in April, though he warned the audience to not "order (their) yard signs yet." Claar is running unopposed in the April 9 election.
Claar spoke of new development in the village, both retail and industrial, including the additions of Zip Fitness and Autumn Leaves. Bolingbrook saw a 6 percent increase in retail sales from Q1 2011 to Q1 2012 and a 5.5 percent increase in sales tax revenue in that same time period.Retail sales Sales tax revenue 2012 $1,302,000,000 $27,960,000 2011 $1,227,000,000 $26,500,000 2010 $1,060,000,000 $23,200,000 2009 $1,025,000,000 $22,200,000 2008 $1,142,000,000 $24,900,000 2007 $1,083,000,000 $23,427,205.88 2006 $997,000,000 $21,400,000 2005 $875,000,000 $16,700,000 2004 $845,000,000 $14,700,000
Editor's note: Data provided by the village for annual State of the Village addresses.
The mayor said he often hears concerns about empty storefronts in Bolingbrook. In 2012, Bolingbrook had a retail vacancy of 7.5 percent of its total retail inventory, or 470,241 square feet. In 2011, Bolingbrook had a retail vacancy of 6.9 percent, or 430,389 square feet.
"America is taking a hit," Claar said. "People have to understand that every time they buy online they put the nail in the coffin of the brick and mortar stores."
Claar said the success of the Promenade Bolingbrook has buffered the loss of other businesses, including major chains such as Circuit City and Borders. He mentioned his support for a local tax on online purchases to keep physical stores in business. The mayor also spoke of his concern of letting retail space be used for non-retail buildings, such as schools or churches.
"If we lose those spaces to non-retail, what will happen when the retail comes back?" Claar asked.
If the village loses sales tax revenue, it will need to look to other sources of revenue to pay for its bills, he said. Claar said in his 2012 State of the Village Address that the village staff had been recently been reduced 30 percent, from 524 to 366.Total village levy Property tax rate 2012 $16,346,000 $0.8331 2011 $14,984,000 $0.6968 2010 $15,110,000 $0.6667 2009 $14,900,000 $0.6202 2008 $16,090,000 $0.6202 2007 $13,893,872 $0.609 2006 $12,630,000 $0.67 2005 $11,940,000 $0.67 2004 $11,530,000 $0.71
Editor's note: Data is provided by the village via State of the Village presentations. Property tax rate is per $100 EAV. EAV (equalized assessed valuation) has fallen each year since 2008.
Check Patch next week for more data on retail vacancies, Bolingbrook population trends and more.