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Richmond looks to attract growth with tax breaks, events

RICHMOND – In an effort to boost economic growth, the Richmond Village Board is trying to revive a tax abatement program and village-sponsored events.

The board approved the program three or four years ago, but hit a roadblock in implementing it when some other taxing bodies didn’t sign on, Village Clerk Karla Thomas said.

Under the program, qualifying businesses could apply for a three-year tax abatement to offset any rise in taxes from building or improving a property.

The first year the business would receive a 100 percent abatement on the increase in assessed value, according to an outline of the program. The second year it would be 66 percent, and the final year would be 33 percent.

Village Trustee David Kielpinski decided earlier this year that he wanted to revive the program, so he and the other members of the Community Development Committee have been making the rounds to the taxing bodies.

Nippersink District 2’s school board and Richmond-Burton Community High School District 157 are on board with the tax abatement program, Thomas said. The village still needs intergovernmental ­agreements from the Nippersink Public Library District, the Richmond Township Fire Protection District and Richmond Township.

Committee members also have been letting businesses know about the program and a revolving loan program the village has had for decades but that hasn’t been used in years.

The Community Development Committee also is looking to bring back village-sponsored events.

In the past, Richmond hosted a presidential ball and casino nights, but the calendar has been empty for the past four years.

The three-member committee is considering a Victorian luncheon and fashion show and an appraisal event a la Antiques Roadshow, committee chairwoman and Trustee Charlotte Hollenbach said.

It’s hoped the events will generate enough income to cover expenses, Thomas said.

Events are what initially drew committee member and Trustee Ramsin Wardanian to Richmond, he said.

Drawing visitors is the other half of the economic development equation, the committee members said, although they are split on how to spend limited funds.

To cover the cost of brochures – some to be placed in town and others to be distributed across the state and in Iowa and Wisconsin – the committee discussed cutting billboards from the next year’s budget.

The issue with advertising is that it’s difficult to see whether it’s paying off, Thomas said. Unless, Kielpinski said, the village conducts costly surveys.

That’s the other benefit of events, Wardanian said. It’s easy to see which events are successful and to build on those.

Committee members discussed including a coupon or creating a new phone number solely for the brochures so they can gauge numbers.

Earlier this year, Richmond put up two billboards advertising the town, one on Route 31 between Algonquin and Crystal Lake, and a second on Route 14, east of Crystal Lake.

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