• Megann Horstead

Trustees approve hike in sales tax


To ensure the Village of New Lenox’s ability to secure funding to help offset the cost for infrastructure improvement projects, officials decided Aug. 28 to adopt an ordinance increasing the home rule sales tax.

In a pair of unanimous decisions, trustees agreed to convey a 0.5 percent increase to the Village’s home rule sales tax thereby establishing a new rate at 2 percent effective Jan. 1.

Village Administrator Kurt Carroll said the Village views the actions taken by the trustees as being “more advantageous” to residents and business owners.

“There were discussions of how we would fund our infrastructure improvement projects,” he said of the alternatives explored. “The board favored [the home rule sales tax increase] because it was more advantageous to our residents and businesses than the alternatives.”

The Village intends to use the dollars generated by the home rule sales tax to help pay for projects valued approximately at $80 million to address wastewater treatment, water mains on Route 30 and Cedar Road and access to Lake Michigan water.

Carroll said the Village has initiated efforts to fund a part of these projects and added officials hope to lessen the impact imposed on residents and business owners by imposing an increased rate.

Municipalities are typically allowed to impose a 1-percent sales tax. Under home rule, New Lenox is afforded the ability to extend another sales tax.

New Lenox received community support in 2008 when officials passed a referendum to become a home rule municipality. That measure gives the Village powers in governing that otherwise are not defined by state statutes. The extent to which New Lenox can extend its taxation authority, for example, serves as one way that officials can put to use its added options in governing.

In 2010, the Village presented a plan to the board to implement a home rule sales tax; it was approved. New Lenox started by assessing a 1-percent sales tax and subsequently increased the rate by 0.5 percent twice in 2011.

State law allows the Village to establish changes to its home rule sales tax, so long as it goes into effect on July 1 or Jan. 1.

Now, in 2017, trustees took action on the Village’s third ordinance regulating its home rule sales tax by approving a 0.5 percent increase.

Carroll referenced a study that showed 80 percent of sales tax generated comes from people outside of the Village’s borders and said it’s clear that our residents will benefit from such a measure.

The matter of adopting an ordinance to increase the rate received no discussion at the board’s regular meeting.

Carroll said the Village needed to inform the state of its intent to increase the home rule sales tax by Oct. 1.

“The board had to approve it for this to take effect,” he said.

Round it up

A brief recap of Village Board action from the Aug. 28 regular meeting:

  • Trustees approved a site plan and the setting of surety for Ridgeway Gas Station at the northwest corner of Laraway and Cedar roads.

  • The board pulled from the agenda a measure authorizing an amendment to a purchasing contract with CVS Pharmacy.

  • Officials agreed to adopt an ordinance creating a Class D4 liquor license to help advance plans presented to the Village to operate a craft brewery called Hickory Creek Brewing Company.

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