Endorsement: 'Yes' on Elburn sales tax increase
Four years ago, Elburn voters rejected a property tax increase that was intended to fund the village's police pensions. That left the village to rely solely on its operating funds to pay the increasing, legally required pension costs, and that, village leaders note, is eating into the town's ability to maintain roads and provide other necessary services.
Clearly, a long-term solution needs to be put in place, and the village has even gone so far as to consider disbanding its police force and contracting with Kane County for protection. But the focus now seems to be on the March 15 referendum asking for a 1 percentage-point increase in the village's 7 percent sales tax over the course of four years.
It's far from an ideal solution. The village isn't even sure how much the increase would produce. But the alternative is a continued erosion of the village's operating budget, and leaders have thoughtfully softened the measure's impact by flowing in the increase in annual increments of a quarter-cent until the full penny is reached.
In the end, the measure would lift Elburn's sales tax to 8 percent -- a range that is consistent with some other communities in the region, including Batavia, St. Charles and Sugar Grove.
The sales tax increase is not the perfect response to Elburn's police-pension problem, nor a long-term solution, but, considering the voters refused to create a property tax levy to pay the pensions, it's an acceptable start, and it's being implemented carefully. We recommend a "yes" vote.