The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

March 19, 2014

Sales tax increase fails in Whiteside

By Amy Kent Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton Herald

---- — FULTON, Ill. — Whiteside County residents have spoken and they do not want an increase in their sales tax.

A total of 5,530 voters turned out on Tuesday to voice their opinions on the proposed 1 percent sales tax increase in Whiteside County and 3,183 of them, nearly 58 percent, voted against the proposal.

A total of 42.44 percent of voters supported the increase, which if approved could have generated more than $400,000 worth of revenue designated to Whiteside County schools.

According to River Bend School District Superintendent Chuck Holliday, the district could have utilized those monies for building and facility upgrades, construction and maintenance, which would have reduced taxes that are requested by the district for those improvements.

“It could be used for any facilities costs, replacement or even building new but it cannot be used for salaries,” Holliday said. “So what that does is when those funds come from there (1 percent sales tax) the other funds we use from education funds would then become available for student services and classroom improvements, instead of facility needs.”

While Holliday and the River Bend School Board were legally bound to remain neutral on the 1 percent sales tax vote, they had discussed a variety of projects they could accomplish had the measure passed at the polls.

Energy-efficiency improvements and heating and air conditioning issues were among the top priorities for the district had the 1 percent passed, as well as continued maintenance needs that are always a concern to school board officials.

“We obviously would like to see those funds come available to us,” Holliday said. “But we are to remain neutral through this whole process.”

With the majority voting no during Tuesday’s general primary elections, the county and its numerous school districts will have to wait until the next election season before they can introduce the 1 percent sales tax increase yet again; an option that has already been discussed at the River Bend District Office.