DIXON — Supporters of the 1-percent sales tax were subdued Tuesday.
The group of about 20 “We Are Dixon” supporters gathered at Stables Bar downtown to celebrate the passing of a referendum that would have brought a new sports facility to Dixon. Instead, it was defeated, 8,774 votes to 6,135.
About 58.85 percent of voters said no to the sales tax proposal, according to preliminary tallies.
Money from a 1-percentage-point sales tax increase would have funded school construction projects and facility improvements countywide.
Dixon Police Chief Danny Langloss, leader of the “We Are Dixon” effort, hopes the community will get another chance to vote on the proposal. Lee County school boards will decide whether to pass another resolution putting the referendum on the April ballot, Dixon Superintendent Michael Juenger said.
“We realized almost every county where this has passed, it took at least two or three times voting,” Langloss said. “I think that’s a matter of getting the information out. I heard three stories today where people were out and said they haven’t heard of the tax. That was our biggest challenge.”
Had the measure passed, Dixon School Board agreed to build a $10 million to $15 million sports facility with its share, estimated to be $1.2 million a year, while school districts in Amboy and Franklin Center planned to make building upgrades.
Li Arellano, a Dixon businessman who argued against the tax in a debate conducted by Sauk Valley Media, said the vote made a clear statement.
“People didn’t want a tax hike,” Arellano said. “They didn’t want this project at this time.”
Langloss said “We Are Dixon” will be ready to support the proposal again if it makes the April ballot.
“We’ll break it down by precinct and see what we need to do better next time and where we need to get the word out more,” Langloss said. “We had a short period of time to develop a strategy and deliver our message.”