Elk Grove Village will be sending a $200 Visa gift card to each of the village’s 14,000 residences this week.
Mayor Craig Johnson announced the gift card giveaway at Tuesday’s Village Board meeting. Johnson said the gift cards are a way to help residents offset high inflation during a time when economic activity in the village has been strong. The mayor encouraged residents to shop in the village to double the positive impact of these expenses.
A $200 card will be sent to each apartment, condominium unit, townhouse and village house, regardless of the number of people living there.
“We are so fortunate to be in good enough financial health to be able to give back to the people of Elk Grove during tough economic times,” Johnson said. “The twin punches of soaring gas prices and record inflation have forced families to make tough decisions as the cost of essentials like food and gas increasingly eat into the their household budget. So we are stepping up and doing what we can to soften the blow as much as possible.
With the gift cards going out this week and two final $200 water bill credits to every household in the village during the COVID-19 pandemic, Johnson said the village has given residents a total of $8,904,713 back. – a point punctuated by the unveiling of a large green banner on the Village Council dais displaying that number during Tuesday’s Village Council meeting.
Water bills were sent to water bill customers, including homeowners and condo associations. Landlords were then asked to give tenants a $200 credit on their rent. Johnson said with direct gift cards, money would go directly into residents’ pockets and be available to residents more quickly.
Johnson acknowledged that some might ask, “Why not just lower our property taxes?” The village sets property taxes in dollars and tries to keep that figure constant year after year. He said sometimes the village had good years and sometimes bad years and he said he didn’t want the property taxes to be lowered in a good year, but to have to raise taxes in a bad year.
This year has been very good in terms of sales tax revenue, electricity tax and building permit fees, Johnson said. He said the village maintains a policy of keeping a reserve fund that could fund village operations for five months. He said that with this income from taxes and building fees, the village is well above this five-month reserve threshold.
Gift cards will be sent with a separate letter from the village with instructions. The cards will be sent by a company called Perfect Gift. The cards are green and black with the words “Shop Elk Grove” on them.
There are certain restrictions on the types of purchases that can be made with the cards. Cards cannot be used for gambling, in casinos, to make money transfers, to purchase other gift cards, memberships or online dating services.
Johnson said if the gift cards don’t arrive in the mail this week or early next week, contact the village as they can be tracked, canceled and new cards sent.
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