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updated: 12/4/2013 5:43 PM

Mt. Prospect OKs tax, fee hikes to fund street repairs

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Beginning next year, drivers filling up in Mount Prospect will be putting in their two cents to help rebuild the village's roads.

Mount Prospect trustees this week approved a 2-cent per gallon hike in the village's motor fuel tax as part of a five-year financial program created to address a 13.3-mile backlog in street repairs and fully fund future road maintenance.

Other hikes in the plan include a gradual raising of the village's vehicle sticker fees and shifting more of the financial burden for garbage collection away from property taxes and to a direct charge on residents and businesses. Officials say the increases will bring the village another $2.1 million in new money annually to fund the street maintenance program.

The measure also will see the village issue $6.5 million in street construction bonds next year.

Trustee Paul Hoefert said it would be irresponsible to let necessary road repairs slide further behind.

"Let's say the roof on my home was getting to an age where it might start leaking," he said. "But I think to myself, 'I'm going to let that roof go just a little bit longer.' And then it starts leaking. Now I've got drywall repairs, plaster repairs. All of a sudden the cost of that roof just doubled.

"Somebody could say, 'Let the streets go a little bit longer. So what?' That's a big 'so what.'"

Finance Director David Erb said funding for the street maintenance program has fallen behind so that the village has been unable to complete the 6.7 miles of repairs planned each year.

"So instead of getting our 6.7 miles done a year, we were getting five or less miles done each year," he said. "That has created a backlog of 13.3 miles."

The plan calls for an increase in the local motor fuel tax from 2 cents to 4 cents per gallon, an increase in the vehicle sticker fee from $36 to $45 over a three-year period, and an increase in the direct charge for trash collection from $100 to $258 over five years. Vehicle sticker revenue will be redirected from the village's general fund to the street improvement fund.

"The implementation of this occurs over a five-year period, so you're not going to see the impact to an individual household as if we were doing it over a one- or two-year period," Erb said.

Trustee A. John Korn noted that the change in how refuse collection is funded will put most of burden onto the user.

"Right now, for residential homeowners like myself, our (portion for) garbage is the $100 that we're paying. The rest of that money is being paid by the people that live in condominiums, apartments and the business community," he said. "That's where the majority of that money is coming from, and they are supporting us as homeowners, because that's coming out of the general real estate tax bill that we have."

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