If 'no' holds, South Elgin would try sales tax referendum again

Editor's note: this story was updated to say the total sales tax rate is 8.5 percent in Elgin's Kane County portion and 10.5 percent in Elgin's Cook County portion.

South Elgin would take another shot at asking voters to increase the village's sales tax rate if final results confirm voters said "no" on Tuesday, the village president said.

"I'm totally disappointed," Steve Ward said Wednesday, "but I do understand people with taxes nowadays. ... They say any tax is something they don't want."

Unofficial results show 787 "yes" votes and 781 "no" votes to adding a half-percentage point to the sales tax rate, which would have increased to 8 percent. The final results will include all late-arriving mail-in ballots and will be certified in 21 days, said Raymond C. Esquivel, Kane County supervisor of elections.

The additional sales tax would have generated roughly $1.5 million more a year to fund road improvements, which currently are funded at $2 million per year, village officials said. A study last year showed village roads are rated between good and fair condition but will deteriorate if the village doesn't increase funding.

The next chance for a municipal referendum would be the 2021 spring election ballot, possibly fall 2020 depending on the state statute, said Matt Dietrich, spokesman for the state board of elections.

Residents might be prompted to vote "yes" next time if they start seeing roads aren't getting repaired as fast as they'd like, Ward said.

"It's such a small amount of money to come out of people's pockets to make it happen," he said.

The village also will have more time to inform voters on the measure, which got final approval from the board in January, Ward said. "We only had a two-month period when we could put out the information," he said.

Because South Elgin is a non-home-rule community, it can increase its local sales tax only if voters give the OK. The overall sales tax rate - which includes state, county, RTA and municipal sales taxes - is 8 percent in St. Charles, Geneva, Bartlett and Batavia. It is 8.5 percent in Elgin's Kane County portion and 10.5 percent in Elgin's Cook County portion.

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