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Article updated: 10/23/2013 9:12 AM

Four new taxes, one new fee OK'd in Hoffman Estates

The average Hoffman Estates resident can expect to pay $100 more per year with the new taxes and fee approved by the village board.

The average Hoffman Estates resident can expect to pay $100 more per year with the new taxes and fee approved by the village board.

 

Mark Black | Staff Photographer

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There was only one vote against four new taxes and a new fee Monday night that will have Hoffman Estates residents paying about $100 more to the village each year to fund backlogged road improvements and other capital needs.

Trustee Anna Newell voted "no" on the five new sources of revenue: a utility tax on electricity, a utility tax on natural gas, a municipal motor fuel tax, a liquor tax and a stormwater utility fee.

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Previously, Newell said she understood the need for more revenue but said residents were "taxed to death."

"They don't want to pay any more," she said at the Oct. 7 meeting.

In the next five years, the village wants to complete about $24.6 million in road improvements -- $16.3 million in reconstruction work and $8.3 million in resurfacing work. That equates to 50 street segments getting reconstructed and 76 segments getting resurfaced.

To do so, village officials say, $4 million to $5 million will need to be spent each year on roadwork. Currently, the village is using only its motor fuel tax revenues of about $1.2 million per year to pay for road improvements.

Before the recession, general fund revenue was the primary source of capital needs, including the street improvement program. But it can no longer provide adequate funding for the roads.

About $3 million of the more than $3.6 million that will come in from the four new taxes will be added to current motor fuel tax revenues. The remainder will be spent on other capital needs, like snow plows and fire apparatus, IT hardware or improvements to public buildings.

Residents can expect to see an average increase of about $3.35 per month on electricity bills and about $3.21 per month on natural gas bills. The motor fuel tax will add .025 cents of tax to each gallon of fuel bought in the village, and the new 5 percent liquor will be applied to packaged liquor only.

The new taxes will go into effect on Nov. 1, although the utility tax on natural gas might not show up on bills until Dec. 1.

Revenue from the stormwater utility fee -- which should generate $450,000 to $475,000 per year -- will be dedicated to repairing, replacing and maintaining the village's stormwater system. The owner of an average residential lot can expect a fee of about $2 a month starting on March 1, 2014.

Two residents spoke out against the taxes, including former Trustee Ray Kincaid, who ran against Mayor William McLeod during this year's spring election.

"I would truly appreciate it if you could reconsider this, you would put it off, look at the budget a little bit closer," Kincaid said.

"I would certainly hope that we recognize that there have been a lot of difficulties for residents, as well as businesses, and we need to find other ways to collect these funds."

Rodney Rusakiewicz, another former Hoffman Estates trustee, said while he believes there's no doubt the village's roads are "deplorable," he feels the village should have been more public about the new taxes.

"I'm just asking you to think about what you're doing and at least give the residents some information," he said. "Publish something so we know exactly what's going on, where these dollars have to go and how long it's going to take you to make these improvements you need to make."

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