Downtown Evanston restaurants may notice a bit of an uptick in business over the next few days as several hundred downtown residents look for a way to use a check they’ve just received in the mail from the city.

One downtown condo owner tipped Evanston Now to the news that she’d gotten a check for about $200 Wednesday, and Assistant City Manager Marty Lyons confirmed Wednesday night that about 800 checks have gone out to residents.

The money is a refund of a Special Service Area #4 property tax that was mistakenly included on residents’ tax bills last year.

The tax — used to support downtown development efforts — was supposed to have only been assessed against commercial property owners, but because of a mix up at the county assessor’s office, the residential properties were charged the fee as well.

Lyons says the city has now sent out checks to all but about 30 or so people who were unable to prove they’d paid the tax bill, and it’s still dealing with a few issues of bad addresses, where letters have been returned by the post office.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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