Worth board OKs amendments with eye on economic development

  • Written by Sharon L. Filkins

In accordance with its ongoing economic development plans for Worth, the Board of Trustees approved amendments to two municipal codes at its Tuesday meeting.

According to the ordinances, the amendments will restrict certain businesses in the B-1 and B-2 business districts. However, the modifications will apply to future businesses, not the existing businesses.

In the B-1 district, all business establishments will be retail establishments dealing directly with consumers. All goods produced on the premises will be sold at retail on the premises where it is produced.

“Our primary focus as we move forward with our economic development plans is to encourage businesses providing sales tax revenue,” said Mayor Mary Werner.

Examples of permitted businesses include antique shops, automobile accessory stores, bicycle stores, camera and photographic supply stores and studios, clothing, footwear and dry goods stores, department stores, drug stores, etc.

Permitted uses in the B-2 district will include businesses such as amusement establishments within enclosed buildings, such as bowling alleys, gymnasiums, swimming pools, skating rinks, automotive vehicle and automotive equipment sales, banks, catering establishments, health clubs, gymnasiums, reducing salons and massage therapy establishments, medical and dental clinics and laboratories, pet shops and restaurants.

Certain businesses fall into a category designated as special use, such as places of assembly like theaters, churches and community centers.

Village Attorney Greg Jones suggested that the board consider eliminating these from the list of permitted uses in the amended ordinances. “It will not impact existing facilities, but will prohibit any additional future use,” he said.

In another discussion, Trustee Pete Kats, who is the liaison to the Public Works department, raised the issue of parked cars prohibiting the snow plowing efforts on village streets.

“I have received numerous complaints from residents whose street is not plowed because of cars being left on the street,” Kats said. “This is a major epidemic and is becoming a health and safety hazard. With cars parked on both sides of some of our streets, there is no way an ambulance or fire truck could get down the street.

“I am asking our board to consider this situation and formulate an ordinance prohibiting parking on both sides of the streets and after snowfalls of more than two inches,” added Kats. “We need to get something in place and then stick to enforcing it. Our residents need to realize that they can benefit themselves by not parking on the street.”

In other matters, the board heard a report on the recent audit conducted on village finances. The report was presented by John Williams of Hearne and Associates.

He reported that the village saw a slight decrease in its revenue this past year. 2015 revenues were $12.2 million as compared to $12.4 million in 2014. He attributed it to a reduction in property taxes collected.

Werner commented later that the reduction amounted to $200,000 not collected. She attributed it to people who appealed their tax bills and those who simply could not pay.

Total expenditures for the year were $12 million. “All expenditures were below budget,” Williams said.

Other board action approved a payment of $9,106.25 to Mid America Tree & Landscape, Inc., for flowers for the village’s annual planting day.

Also approved was a Resolution authorizing the village to close 111th Street from Ridgeland Avenue to Harlem Avenue on Aug. 28 for the Worth Days Parade.

Trustee Colleen McElroy said that the Beautification Committee is inviting businesses to participate in this year’s Patriotic Banner Program. Cost of the banner is $175 for the first banner and $150 for a second. They will be placed along 111th Street and Harlem Avenue, from Flag Day through Oct. 1. For further information on the program, contact McElroy at the village hall, (708) 448-1181.