Should Barrington have a village sales tax? Voters will decide.

Barrington voters will decide whether a village sales tax should be enacted to generate up to a projected $1 million in annual revenue to help pay for infrastructure improvements including streets, parking lots and sidewalks.

In addition to the binding referendum question seeking the 1 percent local sales tax, Barrington residents will see two advisory measures on the Nov. 6 ballot. One advisory question will ask if residents should receive preference for specific locations in the village's commuter parking lots, while the other is about village government's use of alternative energy.

Village trustees voted 5-0 at a special meeting Thursday night to place all three referendum questions on the ballot. Barrington does not have home-rule power to enact a sales tax without voter approval.

Trustee Jim Daluga said the village no longer can rely on infrastructure work's being covered by a utility tax, which is generating less annual revenue due in part to fewer landline telephones. He said he favors the local sales tax as a more reliable way to fund for infrastructure projects.

“We've done our best to cut costs in other areas so that we can contribute dollars from our general fund to our road program, primarily for infrastructure improvements, but it's becoming more and more difficult to do that in the face of rising costs elsewhere,” he said.

Village Manager Jeff Lawler said it's projected the 1 percent local sales tax would produce $850,000 to $1 million in annual income that would be directed toward work on streets, sidewalks, parking lots, public facilities and other infrastructure.

Barrington's overall sales tax is 9 percent on the Cook County side and 7 percent in Lake County. The overall sales tax would increase by 1 percentage point in each county if voters approve. Other towns with local sales taxes include Arlington Heights, Palatine, Schaumburg and Hoffman Estates at 1 percent. Under state law, such local taxes don't apply to vehicle sales, food or prescription drugs.

Village President Karen Darch said more than half Barrington's annual retail sales came from nonresidents.

“There are other of advantages this sort of revenue source for the village as opposed to going to referendum for a property tax increase in the village, which would just be paid by village residents,” Darch said. “The non-home-rule sales tax allows us to recover revenue from all the people purchasing items in the village.”

Palatine, Schaumburg and South Barrington have a 1 percent village sales tax and overall rate of 10 percent. Deer Park has a half-percent local sales tax and 7.5 percent overall rate.

Meanwhile, Lawler said some residents have been complaining about being unable to find parking spaces at the Metra station because they are occupied with vehicles from other towns. The advisory question on the commuter parking will provide feedback on the issue to village officials.

The other advisory question will ask if the village should consider the use of renewable energy sources for projects if it doesn't increase the cost by more than 10 percent.

  This is the Barrington Metra commuter rail depot parking lot. Village board members Thursday night authorized a November advisory ballot question asking if residents should receive preference for specific locations in the village's commuter parking lots, which are used by those from other communities. Bob Susnjara/
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