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Winfield voters approve sales tax increase

Published: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 11:44 a.m. CST
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(Mark Busch - mbusch@shawmedia.com)
Many of Winfield's streets are falling into disrepair, including High Lake Road near downtown. On Tuesday, voters approved a referendum measure that would increase the sales tax in town to help pay for ongoing road maintenance.

WINFIELD – Passing by less than 100 votes, Winfield's bid to increase its sales tax will help provide funds to the village to maintain and sustain its roads.

With 904 votes in favor of the sales tax referendum and 806 votes against it, the measure received support from 52.9 percent of voters, according to preliminary results from DuPage County.

Voters previously approved a sales tax increase from 7.25 percent to 7.5 percent in April 2013. This time, the sales tax will go up to 7.75 percent.

"It's the will of the voters," Village President Erik Spande said. "Now it's up to the village to make good on the trust our residents have put in us."

While upcoming major road construction will be funded by about $4.2 million of general obligation debt certificates the village issued in January, money from the sales tax increase will help maintain the roads once they are repaired.

Nearly 30 percent of Winfield's roads are in poor to failing condition.

Because roads were not repaired for several years, extensive reconstruction is necessary to fix many of the roads, as opposed to a standard resurfacing, Village Manager Curt Barrett previously told Suburban Life Media.

Providing more annual maintenance of the roads will allow them to have an expected 20-year life span, officials said.

The cost of annual maintenance is about $650,000. About $225,000 of that comes from the Motor Fuel Tax, and a varying amount is taken from the general fund, which can provide no funding at all or as much as $150,000 or more, Barrett said.

The additional 0.25 percent in sales tax is expected to generate between $75,000 and $80,000 for the village, Spande said. Medicine and groceries will be exempt.

Currently, Winfield is in the process of revisiting its comprehensive plan. Part of that planning process has included identifying areas for commercial growth, he said.

If additional commercial developments were to move to town, the increased sales tax in combination with those new businesses will help to bring new revenues to the village and reduce future burdens on residents, Spande said.

The sales tax increase is expected to go into effect in July, he said.

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