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County considers sales tax to fix roads

A La Salle County Board committee is exploring the possibility of a transportation tax that would increase the county's sales tax. Funds from the tax hike would go toward county road repairs.
A La Salle County Board committee is exploring the possibility of a transportation tax that would increase the county's sales tax. Funds from the tax hike would go toward county road repairs.

The cost for highway road improvements might come in the form of a sales tax increase.

La Salle County’s Committee on Appointments and Legislation and Rules began early consideration for a transportation tax that would increase the sales tax across the county.

Board Chairman Jerry Hicks, D-Marseilles, said the idea came from David Zielke, R-Leland, who noted that Kendall County will be using transportation taxes to pay for its share of the Millington bridge.

The committee originally believed the tax would be applied to only fuel, but enthusiasm was reduced slightly when realizing it will apply across the board and more closely resemble the county’s public safety tax, which was approved in the mid-1990s.

The tax will not apply to groceries, vehicles, prescription and non-prescription medications and medical devices. It will also require the county to come up with a 20-year transportation plan, but that can be completed after a referendum is passed.

The tax can only be increased in quarter-cent increments.

Funds received from this tax would only be allowed for improvements to roads and other transportation purposes.

Hicks said the county has struggled to maintain its roads and is constantly rewriting five-year plans in order to fix larger issues that arise.

The deadline to get it on the November ballot would be Monday, Aug. 20, but, because information was limited, the item was not brought before the full County Board during its Thursday meeting.

The committee will continue to research the tax further and bring it before the County Board at a later time for possible approval on the April ballot.

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