MORTON - Five area counties will have the option to vote on a one percent sales tax increase to benefit schools.
A sales tax increase will be on the ballot in Tazewell, Marshall, Livingston, Woodford and Fulton counties this April.
Morton District 709 Superintendent Dr. Lindsey Hall said it could generate millions for her school district. "For Morton schools, it's between $1.6 and $1.7 million per year."
That's a solid stream of revenue that Hall said she can count on, especially when she said she can longer count on the state of Illinois. "That's a challenge for all public school districts. We still have the education mission to carry on, as well as all the other things we need to do like maintaining buildings, keeping them safe."
Maintaining buildings is exactly what this tax money would pay for. Money generated from the tax hike would strictly go toward school facility improvements. For Morton schools, increasing safety and security is a project at the top of the list. Hall said, "In light of the environment and the concerns that go with school, safety that these are funds that can be used for safety and security upgrades."
The tax would apply to purchases at some retail stores and restaurants. It wouldn't be a cost tacked on to groceries, medicine, farm equipment or big item costs. Hall said the goal is to bring in money from more than just property tax payers. "It's estimated that 25-30% of the revenue will come from non-residents of Tazewell County from consumers who come here to visit for so many different reasons. It takes the pressure off the source of revenue that comes from property tax."
In the meantime, Hall said she's on a mission to inform the public. She hopes to let them know just what is at stake. "Just make an informed choice. Understand some of the challenges that public school districts feel right now."
If voters approve the tax hike, the money will be divided up to each school in the county, based on the amount of students it serves.
The election is on April 9.