Winfield voters took a small step toward raising much-needed money to fix their roads Tuesday when they gave the village permission to add a quarter-cent local sales tax to other sales taxes already in place.
According to unofficial results from all of Winfield's 13 precincts, 1,578 voters approved the sales tax plan while 1,386 opposed it.
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The proposal, which increases the total sales tax paid in Winfield from 7.25 percent to 7.5 percent, was put on the ballot to help the village raise money for road repairs.
The village currently has only about $225,000 for annual street repairs, reflecting what it receives from state gasoline tax money.
Officials say there's not enough money in the town's general fund to meet the street maintenance needs. Winfield is limited in its ability to raise taxes without voter approval because it doesn't have home-rule status.
Meanwhile, half of the village's roads have been deemed to be in fair to failing condition. Officials estimate nearly $1 million a year is needed to repair the worst roads and follow a maintenance schedule.
Voters in 2010 and last November rejected requests to raise property taxes for roads as the funding became mired in politics over Roosevelt Road development and a debate over whether the town should outsource police services.
The goal of the sales tax proposal was to move toward a road repair solution without addressing everything at once.
Winfield's tax won't apply to food or drug sales. Still, it's expected to generate about $75,000 a year in additional revenue.
Village officials have said three more identical requests would need to be put to voters in the future to raise the amount of revenue the town needs.