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Voters Will Decide Fate of Sales Tax Hike

Macomb, IL – Macomb now has four months to convince voters to approve a half-cent hike in the sales tax.

Aldermen unanimously agreed during their July 6 meeting to put the referendum on the November 2 ballot.

The city is not allowed to spend money to promote the measure, so Mayor Mick Wisslead said it will need to find other ways to get the word out.

"I think that the aldermen need to go out and talk to all their constituents and see if they can't agree that this is a good item for the city," Wisslead said.

The money raised would help pay for road and sewer repairs. The city already collects a half-cent sales tax to pay for those projects but the amount of work that needs to be done is far outpacing the amount of money raised.

Public Works Director Walter Burnett has indicated the city has about $28 million worth of infrastructure needs right now.

During the July 6 meeting, aldermen did not discuss whether they will bond to cover the cost of some projects and use sales tax money to pay back the bonds. That idea was discussed during their final committee meeting in June but no agreement was reached.

The main point of discussion during the July 6 meeting concerned the wording of the the referendum. Initially the question read:

Shall the City of Macomb impose a Municipal Retailers and Service Occupation Tax of 1% on the sale of tangible personal property other than food and medicine purchased at retail and sale of service from a retailer as defined in 65 ILCAS 5/8-11-1.3 and 65 ILCAS 5/8-11-1.4 within the City of Macomb, Illinois for expenditure on public infrastructure?

Fifth Ward Alderman Dave Dorsett said that wording made it sound as though the city was seeking a full cent increase, rather than a half-cent increase that would bring the tax to a full cent.

Aldermen agreed to reword the referendum to make it clear the tax is being increased by just a half-cent.