Belvidere passes sales tax hike

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A Belvidere sales tax hike passes. Monday. Alderman approve to raise the sales tax from 7.75% to 8.25% in a 6-3 vote. Belvidere Mayor Mike Chamberlain says after looking at the city’s budget — they knew they had to make tough decisions.

“We talked to the council,” said Chamberlain. “We knew pretty soon we’re going to hit the wall. We’re not going to have additional revenue to do capital projects.”

But Belvidere resident Nick Paul doesn’t think taxing residents more is the way. Adding nickel and dime-ing residents will only send locals north across the Stateline.

“Eventually I think they’re gonna hit a point of diminishing returns,” explained Paul. “Where they realize that the proposed revenue that you’re planning on getting in the new tax hike is going to erode because people are just going to move away from the state and out of the city.”

City officials say the hike will bring in an additional $1.2 million in revenue. Something Belvidere resident Sheila Fowler believes the city desperately needs.

“Every year, everything costs more,” said Fowler. “The city is no different, they have more going out and they need more coming in.”

While Fowler is for the sales tax hike,  it’s with one condition — the funds help fix flooding issues in the south side of Belvidere.

“It’d be nice if they would earmark a portion or percentage of this sales tax increase to our problem.”

Chamberlain says while flooding needs to be addressed, projects like fixing Logan Avenue have been on the back burner for too long.

“I think the way that you drive into the city, is important,” said Chamberlain. “It makes a statement for people coming in and out of the community. Logan Ave is a major thoroughfare that comes right into the city.”

Belvidere city leaders say the sales tax will not apply towards groceries and medical necessities.The hike is planned to take effect January 1st.

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