Dixon School Board to vote on putting tax hike on the ballot
Lee County schools would get money for capital projects
DIXON – The Dixon school board will vote tonight on whether to ask voters for a 1 percent sales tax hike to pay for capital projects – such as, perhaps, a new sports complex.
Other Lee County school districts are making the same decision next week.
Officials estimate such a tax, added to most items normally taxed at 6.25 percent by the state, would raise about $1 million a year for Dixon Public Schools.
Conversations about whether Dixon should build a sports complex usually stall when they get to one quandary: how to pay for it. Sales tax money might be the answer, Superintendent Michael Juenger said.
The tax increase would not be applied to cars, planes, boats, medical supplies, farm equipment and some food items, and the money raised could be used only for capital improvements – such as the much-talked-about sports complex.
To get the measure on the November ballot, Dixon Public Schools will need at least one more district to approve a similar resolution. By state law, boards representing more than 50 percent of students in the county must approve the resolution.
Paw Paw, Ashton-Franklin Center and Amboy boards will vote at their meetings next week.
The Nelson School Board – which is in Whiteside County but has students who live in Lee County – already voted in favor of putting the tax increase on the ballot, but with only 31 students, and not all of them from Lee, it is too small to meet the state requirement.
Revenue from a sales tax increase would be split among the districts based on the number of students from Lee County enrolled.
In Dixon, the money would not necessarily be used for a sports complex. Whether residents want such a facility still is being determined.
One opponent, Carolyn Brechon of Dixon, expressed her views in a letter to the editor published by Sauk Valley Media:
"I sit back and shake my head wondering where the common sense is in our governing bodies. While the city of Dixon is still reeling and trying to digest the recent news of the alleged misappropriation of $30 million of city funds by our city comptroller, others are proposing new ideas with supposedly a minimal cost to Dixon citizens: a new sports complex with a possibility of being funded by a sales tax increase of up to 1 percent."
When asked if he thought now was a good time to be proposing the tax, Juenger said, "I guess I would ask not whether the time is good or not. I guess I would ask if the idea is sound. If it was a good idea last month or 2 months ago, is it still a good idea now?
"That's a question the voters get to answer."
The Dixon School Board will meet at 6:30 p.m. today at the district’s administrative building, 1335 Franklin Grove Road, to vote on whether to:
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