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Grundy County supporting Channahon in point of sale issue

Published: Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014 5:30 a.m. CST

MORRIS – Channahon President Joe Cook and Administrator Joe Pena made a trip to Morris on Wednesday to further discuss the point of sale issue and were met with support from the Grundy County Finance Committee.

“Grundy County is behind Channahon all of the way,” said Chairman Ron Severson during Wednesday’s Finance Committee meeting.

Cook and Pena updated committee members on the village’s response to last week’s emergency amendment issued by the Illinois Department of Revenue changing point of sale regulations. The new regulations could have a direct impact on Channahon and Grundy County’s future tax revenues.

Channahon has been accused by the Regional Transit Authority of housing 16 or more companies, which route sales transactions through small, nearly nonexistent offices in the village.

The RTA claims Channahon is diverting needed funds from other units of local government by claiming the sales tax revenue from those companies, which are not based in Channahon.

“In many of these cases, I think you will find that with these businesses – or certainly the subsidiary of these businesses that have created a purchasing corporation – their only location is in Channahon,” Cook said.

Cook assured the group that Channahon is working actively with lobbyists, lawmakers and all of their clients to shape any new legislation regarding point of sale.

“I think keeping a positive message and letting people know we’re still in the boxing ring is really important,” Cook said.

Pena said Channahon representatives have talked with all of the companies who may be affected by point of sale changes and the representatives were assured by many companies that their operation would be considered legal by IDR’s new regulations.

Cook also assured the committee that the businesses involved in the point of sale lawsuits and targeted by the emergency amendment will help the village and county in their fight to keep their current taxing strategies.

“These are major companies with a lot of money,” Cook said. “They are going to be some of the biggest players in this.”

Severson said although he supports Channahon’s efforts, he thinks the county should be prepared for the worst, which could include the county losing $1.8 million in future tax revenue.

“I’m just not quite as optimistic,” Severson said.

The committee decided to schedule a meeting with Grundy County Auditor Tanya Mack to discuss future revenue streams in case they are faced with a budget crisis because of the sales tax revenue reduction later this year.

“We can keep some of these revenue strategies in our back pocket,” committee member David Welter said.

Cook said although they are confident in their ability to secure the sales tax revenue stream, they too are re-evaluating Channahon’s budget.

“We are doing what all good governments should do, which is hope for the best but plan for the worst,” Cook said. “But we’re not done fighting yet.”

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