On Jan. 14, I appeared before the Belleville Finance Committee imploring them to do their due diligence before deciding to give $200,000 of our tax increment financing money to Kroger, the country's largest grocery store chain. It is the second largest general retailer by revenue and the fourth largest retailer in the world, generating more than $90 billion in sales annually.
I challenged Mayor Mark Eckert's assertion that Kroger's new Ruler Foods would generate $6.5 million in sales revenue as not representing new revenue. I pointed out there are seven other grocery/produce providers within three miles of the proposed location at the former Bel-Air Bowl, not including Dollar General and Family Dollar. The sales revenue this store will generate does nothing but redistribute existing revenue within the city. Eckert and current Ward 3 Alderman Rob Anderson (employed as a dairy manager at Schnucks) both defended their intention to give Kroger the $200,000 in TIF.
On Feb. 4, the proposal went before the entire City Council for vote. Anderson and Eckert are responsible for delivering an 8-7 vote in favor of giving residents' tax dollars to Kroger, a publicly traded corporation on the New York Stock Exchange and a component of the S&P 500. Had Anderson abstained from voting due to a conflict of interest, the proposal would have failed.
Kroger doesn't need a corporate welfare check from Belleville. I believe that $200,000 would be better spent fixing our streets.
Candidate for Ward 3 alderman