SYCAMORE –Sycamore city officials are looking to share some general fund budget surplus proceeds with local restaurants and bars struggling to stay afloat amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sycamore City Manager Brian Gregory said during the Monday, Oct. 19 City Council meeting the city finished the year strong with a positive general fund balance of more than $860,000. He said that came after city officials worked together to tighten their belts any way possible and that the city continues to do so.
“I’m recommending that the City Council waive October restaurant and bar tax for our restaurants and bars that are in good standing," Gregory said. "And so what that would do is that it would provide some relief for these businesses that have been impacted by these mitigation rules that [Illinois] Gov. [JB] Pritzker has put out.”
Gregory said he wanted to first get council feedback before bringing the proposal back for an official vote during the City Council's next meeting scheduled for Nov. 2.
Gregory also encouraged the community to support local businesses who have been especially challenged by the economic effects of the pandemic.
"I know it’s easy to go online and purchase something," Gregory said. "But if you can call or do curbside pickup at a local business, you’re going to help them bridge this gap that COVID-19 has created and hopefully come out on the other end successful and still part of our sycamore community.”
Gregory also said budget surplus funds also would be used to make larger contributions to the city's pension systems.
City council members expressed unanimous support for the proposal and for it to come back for an official vote next month.
“It makes a lot of simple sense,” Ward 1 Alderman Josh Huseman said.
Following voiced support for the proposal from city aldermen, Gregory said he would begin to let restaurants and bars know what’s coming.
“Hopefully it will provide some relief during these challenging times."