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Spring Valley will again vote on sales tax increase

SPRING VALLEY — Spring Valley residents will once again be asked to vote on an increased sales tax to better fund street improvements.

On Monday, the council approved to place the question on the November election ballot, with aldermen Tom Nesti and Jack Narczewski voting against the decision.

As on the March primary ballot, the question will read: “Shall the corporate authorities of the City of Spring Valley be authorized to levy an additional Retailer’s Occupation Tax at a rate of 1/2% for expenditures on municipal operations, expenditures on public infrastructure or other property tax relief?”

In March, voters of Spring Valley said “no” to the proposition. The final election results showed 257 “yes” votes vs. 327 “no” votes.

Narczewski has voiced his opinion on the increased tax rate at previous council meetings. He expressed how he felt taxes were already too much a burden for Spring Valley residents.

The decision to place the question on the ballot a second time was not a surprise, as Mayor Walt Marini previously said he wanted to urge voters to reconsider the tax increase.

The current sales tax rate in Spring Valley is 6.75 percent. With the increase, the tax rate would be 7.25 percent.

On Tuesday, Marini said the funds would strictly go toward street repairs. Right now the city is seeing less and less funding in Motor Fuel Tax and the budget cannot cover all the needed street repairs, following the harsh winters.

He said at a recent meeting with state Sen. Sue Rezin and the director of the Illinois Department of Transportation, the decreasing Motor Fuel Tax funds was a topic of discussion.

“Most communities are now looking at a sales tax to supplement the funds,” he explained.

He added one of the reasons behind the decrease is that vehicles are on their way to becoming more fuel efficient.

“They said by 2025, cars will get 54 miles per gallon,” he said.

Last month, alderman Chuck Hansen, chairman of the Streets and Alleys Committee, expressed frustration with having lack of funds for street repairs. He said the council had more money back in 1993 to do repairs than they do today and many residents believe that property taxes cover street repairs, which is not the case.

On Monday, Hansen gave a brief report on the 2014 street program at Monday’s meeting. Each ward is expected to received $35,000 for street improvements this year.

Aldermen were asked to submit street names in their areas that are in need of improvements. The street program will be finalized at the next Streets and Alleys Committee meeting, which will be held at 6:30 p.m. May 19.

In other news, the council on Monday:

• Approved Marini’s following appointments: John Cruz for the board of fire and police commissioners; George Buckman for the police pension board; Sandy Nesti, Lynn Ellis and Dena Strell for the library board, and Julia Biagioni for the zoning board of appeals.

• Approved to donate $100 each to the Steve Brust sixth annual memorial golf outing and to the 32nd annual Jimmy D Golf Day.

• Approved to donate a 2000 Jeep Cherokee to the Disaster Dogs of Illinois. Marini confirmed the Jeep was property the city would have otherwise disposed of. It was not running, and members of the organization believed they could purchase needed parts and utilize the vehicle.

• Authorized the disposal of a 1964 American LaFrance Fire Engine, with the understanding that the fire department will not accept a bid lower than $5,000. The monies are expected to go back to the fire department to be used on fire equipment.

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