Some Fox Lake trustee candidates want the village's utility tax repealed, while others say new business development is needed to generate revenue and ease the tax burden on homeowners.
Six candidates responded to a Daily Herald questionnaire that asked: Given the delicate balance between the need for revenue and overtaxing local businesses, what is your opinion of your community's present level of local sales taxes?
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Because Fox Lake is not a home rule community, village leaders cannot adjust the amount of the local sales tax collected. However, trustee candidates commented on the overall tax burden residents face.
In all, seven candidates are seeking three open trustee seats in the April 9 election. The three incumbent candidates -- Kevin Burt, Valerie Griseta and Jon Mumford -- are running together on the Focused on Fox Lake slate. Three challengers on the Common Sense Party are Bernice Konwent, Jeff Jensen and Ron Stochl. The seventh candidate is Bob Hoffman, who is running as an independent.
Burt, a 50-year-old golf course owner, said the overall tax level attributable to the village is the lowest it can be while still being able to sustain essential services.
"Having said that, I always look for ways to responsibly lower the burden on residents," he said. "This is the reason why new development is so important to our future. This new revenue can replace other streams to reduce or remove the utility tax, vehicle sticker program and the village's portion of property taxes."
Griseta, a 43-year-old executive sales administrator, said she wants to focus on improving the village's business climate to attract new businesses.
"Our residents and businesses have high expectations concerning the services provided to them," she said. "As elected officials, we have to ensure they receive all necessary services and that we properly maintain the village's infrastructure for tomorrow."
Mumford, a 40-year-old firefighter, said he would like to see if the village could end the utility tax.
"Taxes are in line for the most part with one exception," he answered. "I would like to see an end to the utility tax in the very near future. I originally voted no for the utility tax and the economy has come back to the point where the tax could go away."
Konwent, a 72-year-old retired senior buyer/planner, said utility tax and 911 tax continues to rise in Fox Lake. She would like to see more tax money put toward roads.
"There seems to be no plan for the taxation other than the general fund, I also feel that we need to seek new sources of revenue," she wrote.
Jensen, a 45-year-old contractor, said every taxing situation should be re-evaluated.
"But I also know that many people come to Fox Lake for the lower sales tax," he said. "This enables Fox Lake to attract more consumers, which in-turn will help grow our economy. For this reason I would keep the sales tax as is."
Hoffman did not provide answers to the questionnaire.