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Libertyville voters will be asked to approve 1% sales tax

Voters in Libertyville will be asked to approve a 1% non-home rule sales tax to provide a reliable flow of money for local road work and other projects.

Village officials originally had considered asking for authority to designate the community as home rule, which comes with broader authority, but changed course because that was considered a tougher sell.

The village board approved the sales tax request Tuesday without comment. The measure will appear on the March 17 primary ballot. Voter approval is needed to implement a local sales tax because Libertyville is a non-home rule government.

If approved by voters, the additional sales tax would go into effect in July and is projected to generate about $2 million in new annual revenue.

The increased tax would not apply to most food sold at grocery stores, prescription and nonprescription drugs, medical appliances and vehicles.

The sales tax actually is expected to raise an estimated $3 million per year. But the net gain would be reduced to $2 million annually because, if the sales tax is approved, a 1% Places for Eating Tax instituted a few years ago would be repealed, village officials said.

A community with a population of 25,000 or more automatically becomes home rule and has greater authority to take actions, such as enacting local taxes, without voter approval.

Village leaders said a home rule question could create confusion and opposition, and voters could be concerned with how future village boards might use the power.

In any case, the village says a new, reliable revenue stream is needed to keep pace with expenses for roads, parks, sidewalks and general infrastructure, technology and buildings. Most of the funding is expected to be used for work on local roads.

Public education on the ballot question is expected to include one or more town hall meetings. Information, including a Q and A section is posted at www.libertyville.com/referendum2020.

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