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Oswego Trustees Vote Down Tax Increase

Jan 20, 2015 10:09PM ● By Steven Jack
For the second time in less than a year, Oswego trustees Tuesday night voted against two tax increases meant to help fund future road and capital improvement projects. 

The first vote for a proposed .50 percent increase to the village's home rule sales tax was defeated in a 3-3 tie vote with Trustees Judy Sollinger, Gail Johnson and Pam Parr voting yes and Trustees Terry Michels, Scott Volpe and Tony Giles voting no.

The second measure, which would have levied a four cent per gallon motor fuel tax, never even made it to a vote, as no second was made on the motion to approve it. 

Members of village staff again had suggested the tax increases to help pay for $2 million in road improvements needed in 2015 and beyond. Additional tax dollars also could have been used to begin the process of building a new $20 million Oswego Police station.

As she has in the past, Trustee Gail Johnson argued that the village must begin to look at ways to fund long-term village upkeep and improvements. 

"I'm trying to take a longer view," she said. "... Capital improvements are mounting up, and I don't want to see us drain our reserves so low that we have to come back asking for much more."

Trustee Scott Volpe said there are many sources of additional revenue the village could draw upon without having to increase taxes. Those sources include $2 million in reserves in the village's general fund, an expiring annual $500,000 sales tax rebate paid to Meijer and fees collected for each future home built in the village.  

After the vote, Volpe asked fellow trustees whether they believe it's time to take the question of a sales tax increase to voters in the form of a referendum. While it may be too late to place such a question on the April ballot, trustees will discuss at their next meeting in two weeks the possibly of placing it on a Spring 2016 ballot.