County puts sales tax referendum on April 2 ballots

County puts sales tax referendum on April 2 ballots

LaSalle County voters will be asked in April whether the county may add 0.25% to the sales tax to generate another $2.5 million per year. An annual $1.5 million deficit that’s proven hard to eliminate is depleting the county’s reserves.

Money’s tight enough that some of the county’s approximately 550 employees could be laid off or not replaced. Finance Committee Chairman Brian Dose says the county will have to borrow money to make the payroll possibly in the next year.

Board member Curtis Faber of Mendota isn’t supporting the sales tax increase; he’s not convinced the county’s doing all it can to be fiscally responsible.

Faber and Kindra Pottinger of Sheridan voted Thursday against putting the referendum on the ballot. Twenty-three members voted in favor.

Randy Freeman of Lostant says he doesn’t see a better way to cover all the county’s obligations. He says a sales tax increase is one of the few tax increases he can support. Freeman says the state legislature keeps giving the county more to do without money to do it.

Sheriff Tom Templeton asks everyone on the County Board to work with him, the board chairman, and the coroner to explain to the public how services could soon be cut when the reserves run out.

Voters approved a quarter-cent sales tax to pay for a new jail 20 years ago, but they’ve voted against further increases three times.