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Article updated: 4/26/2013 12:21 PM

Street improvements could cost Mount Prospect drivers at the pump

By Steve Zalusky

Mount Prospect officials are weighing a plan to pour an additional $2.2 million into street improvements to address a backlog on repairs, but doing so could leave residents paying more for garbage pickup, vehicle stickers and gas.

The plan was recommended to the village board's committee of the whole this week. Discussions are preliminary, and officials say the public will have a chance for input at future village board meetings.

Finance Director David Erb said the plan's goal is to keep the village from falling further behind on its street maintenance program.

"This is a tax increase. There is no doubt about that," Trustee Paul Hoefert said. "It's all for a good reason. There is a benefit to all of us to have good streets."

The plan involves increasing the local motor fuel tax from 2 cents to 5 cents per gallon. That would generate about $510,000, Erb said.

It also would hike the vehicle sticker fee from $36 to $45, generating another $346,000.

"It has been that rate ($36) for 15 years," Erb said.

Under the measure, all vehicle sticker revenue would be devoted to street projects, rather than go into the village's general fund.

In order to make up for the shortfall in the general fund, the portion of the property tax levy allocated to support refuse collection would be moved into the general fund and the cost of refuse collection would be directly charged to the residents.

While trash collection costs for residents would be increased, the property tax levy would see a net decrease by $500,000.

Trustees at this week's meeting saw the pain the plan might cause, but also the benefit.

"There is a reason that these things are going up. Because there is a need," Trustee Michael Zadel said. "The infrastructure supports commerce. The infrastructure supports a whole lot of other revenue sources."

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