The ordinance to put a one percent sales tax increase to a referendum failed at Freeport city council Monday night. It came down to a 5-3 vote.
Alderman Donald Parker made the motion to kill the idea indefinitely.
“The primary reason is we’ve been talking about it now for two or three months, and we might as well talk to the wall because we’re not getting anything done,” said Fourth Ward Alderman Donald Parker. “The one percent fell down. The three-quarter percent fell down. Now, the referendum is getting put down. I think we need to move on and let our experts come up with some idea how we can finance these roads instead of us just wasting our time.”
Parker referred to the City Manager and engineers. He says that they are better educated on the cost and process of the roadwork.
Alderman Cecelia Stacy has been in favor of the referendum and letting the voters decide.
“We don’t have all the answers,” said Fifth Ward Alderman Cecelia Stacy. “We need more information so that the people can have a true understanding of what it’s going to take to fix our roads and what one percent, even in a referendum, is going to give us.”
Mayor Jodi Miller said that if the decision was left to voters, it would likely be voted down simply because it is a tax increase.
As a home-rule community, she called on the council to make the choice.
“One of the home-rule authorities is you get that privilege of making that decision without taking it to a referendum,” said Mayor Jodi Miller. “Just imagine if a referee of a football game didn’t want to make the hard calls and left it up to the fans in the stadium.”
There is currently no funding source for the roadwork in the city.
The motor fuel tax brings in less than a million dollars each year.