By Jean Lotus
Shall the Village of Forest Park increase the Retailers' Occupation Tax and a Service Occupation Tax, currently imposed by the Village from 1/2 of 1 percent to 1 percent, pursuant to 65 ILCS 5/8-11-1.3 and 1.4, to be used for expenditure on public infrastructure or for property tax relief or both?"
Yes #Votes / % No #Votes / % Precincts reporting
782 57% 590 43% 10/11
Voters approved an additional .5 percent sales tax for infrastructure in Forest Park at the March 18 primary election.
Fifty-seven percent of voters favored the referendum, with 43 percent voting no. A total of 1,430 voters cast ballots as of Tuesday night, with 10 out of 11 precincts reporting. That was a turnout of 16.21 percent of registered voters, according the to Cook County Clerk's website.
The tax will boost to nine percent the total amount of sales tax paid in Forest Park on purchases such as restaurant meals and consumer goods (excluding grocery food and medicines). Buyers pay between 9 and 10 percent in neighboring towns like Oak Park, Berwyn and Chicago.
The tax is earmarked for infrastructure. Non-home rule villages have been able to vote in incremental sales tax increases for infrastructure since 2002.
The statute is clear about what the money can be used for: "Municipal roads and streets, access roads, bridges, and sidewalks; waste disposal systems; and water and sewer line extensions, water distribution and purification facilities, storm water drainage and retention facilities, and sewage treatment facilities," the statute says. The money can also be used for public schools, the statute says.
"It is our intent to use all of the dollars raised for infrastructure improvements," said Village Administrator Tim Gillian.