Sales tax increase would fund repairs

Staff Writer
Geneseo Republic

Please vote “Yes” on the Feb. 2 ballot to approve a .25 percent sales tax increase, from 6.25 percent to 6.5 percent, for repairs to the Henry County Courthouse.

The courthouse building has been damaged by the effects of rain, snow, ice, and wind. As roof and third-story window repairs are made to stop further damage, the historic exterior features of the building constructed in 1880 will also be repaired and preserved for another 25 years or more.

The State’s Attorney, County Clerk, County Recorder, County Treasurer, Supervisor of Assessments, Clerk of the Circuit Court, County Administration, various other departments, and the data processing offices all operate in this building.

$2,840,000.00 of bonds will be issued to pay for the project. Using a 5.75 percent interest rate and a 10-year term, an investment banking firm calculates a maximum yearly payment of $397,631.00.

Analysis indicates the .25 percent sales tax increase could generate as much as $600,000 per year, which would pay the debt in full in six years. The Henry County Board is committed to end the sales tax rate increase after 10 years, to have all money from the tax paid on the bond debt, and to cancel the rate increase before the end of the 10-year term when the bonds are paid in full.

The sales tax rate will not increase on motor vehicle purchases, food purchases from grocery stores, or medicine purchases. In my opinion, a general list of items purchased that would have a sales tax rate increase would be gasoline, food and beverages purchased at restaurants, and items other than medicine and grocery store food purchased at your local retailers.

What you will pay in additional sales tax depends on what you spend in Henry County. If you purchase $50 of gasoline per week locally, purchase $20 of meals per week from local restaurants, and $40 per week of items from other local retailers (not medicine or grocery store food), your annual purchases total $5,720and your family’s additional annual sales tax is $14.30.

Please note that Henry County residents pay only part of this tax. For example, non-residents of Henry County traveling through the area on I-80, I-74, and Route 150 who purchase gasoline and purchase meals in Henry County will pay the additional sales tax and help us pay the debt.

In my opinion, the total additional sales tax a Henry County family would pay is reasonable, and the 6.5 percent tax rate that must be assessed by our businesses is competitive with communities adjoining Henry County.

I am a member of Citizens for Henry County Courthouse Renovation. This group plans to include an information insert in the Jan. 27 issue of the Henry County Advertizer, which will be delivered to a significant number of Henry County homes. Limited funding does not allow the committee to include the insert in every copy of that edition of the Advertizer. If you do not receive the insert in your Advertizer edition (or do not receive the Advertizer) and want a copy for review before you vote on Feb. 2, please send an e-mail to jjdd@qconline.com (my personal e-mail address).

There are other committee members who would be happy to share their views concerning the referendum. Please contact Bill Philhower, Everett Swanson, Bernard Francque, Tim Wells, Todd Sieben, and Harold Ford from Geneseo, Danny McDaniel from Colona, Greg Peterson from Galva, Jim White from Cleveland, Tom Weston and Larry Lock from Kewanee, Bill Schehl from Cambridge, Byron Carlson from Orion, and Jens and Judy Rehder from Andover.

Please vote “Yes” on Feb. 2.

Jerry Meyer, Orion