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Morrison to vote on adding sales tax question to ballot

Could bring city $250K a year

Published: Tuesday, July 15, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT

MORRISON – During its next meeting, the Morrison City Council will vote on whether to add a sales tax referendum to the November general election ballot.

The issue was discussed during the council’s regular meeting Monday night, and the consensus was that it needs to be on the ballot because the city needs the money for infrastructure improvements.

According to City Administrator Barry Dykhuizen, about $250,000 a year could be brought in, if the full 1 percent increase is implemented.

If the council votes to place the question on the ballot and voters approve it, the council will then have to pass an ordinance establishing how much the tax will be, City Attorney Tim Zollinger said. It can be .25, .5, .75 or 1 percent.

The council took into consideration the fact that there will already be a countywide sales tax referendum for the school districts on the ballot.

But Alderman Dale Eizenga said the question for the city needs to be there, as well.

“I think we need the money now,” he said. “I’d hate to see the school [sales tax] go down because of it, but I think we need to get it out there.”

Waiting for a ballot that doesn’t have another sales tax referendum could push the queston back a year, he said.

The two sales tax referendums won’t be linked. Morrison voters could vote down both and have the countywide tax still pass, or they could approve both and only have the city sales tax pass.

The additional revenue that could come from the sales tax could be used to improve city roads, Mayor Everett Pannier said, adding that the city was told it should be setting aside about $400,000 a year for road improvements.

“It would be probably a difficult pill to swallow if, for some reason, it passed on the county [level] and passed in the city – that we all of a sudden took ours up to 8 percent or more,” Pannier said. “And then we’d be the highest in the county, and that’s not something we want to do.”

Next meeting

The Morrison City Council next meets at 7 p.m. July 28 at the Whiteside County Courthouse, 400 N. Cherry St., in the county board room.

Go to www.morrisonil.org or call City Hall at 815-772-7657 for an agenda or more information.

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