Taking advantage of newly passed state legislation, Forest Park’s village council Monday night unanimously OKd an added two cents per gallon tax on motor fuel. The state legislation allows non-home rule communities in Cook County to levy the tax at up to three cents per gallon.
Commissioner Dan Novak asked why Forest Park would not tax at the highest allowable rate as neighboring communities do. Mayor Rory Hoskins said the logic is to see if potentially lower gas prices in Forest Park drive volume for dealers.
Although the mayor and all four commissions voted in favor of this ordinance, it sparked discussion before the vote.
Novak made it clear that he favors this tax but had a few questions and comments. He said it’s difficult to “know how much money this will truly generate” for the village. He said service stations are currently not required to report the number of gallons sold. He also questioned the decision to tax at 2 cents when the village could go as high as 3 cents per gallon. Additionally, he said there are ambiguities about how to track the money once the village begins collecting it. In general, he expressed concern that there wasn’t a more concrete outlook in terms of projected income or logistics on this tax for the village.
Hoskins said this is a “new tax,” and it’s “hard to figure out projection-wise” what the village can expect. In terms of a 2 cents versus 3 cents per gallon levy, Hoskins said that since neighboring communities are taxing at 3 cents, the hope is that the 2 cents tax will “keep [gas] prices a little bit lower” in Forest Park.
Village Administrator Tim Gillian said this tax is “regulated by the state.” Although there are still a few unknowns, Gillian is confident that village officials will work out the details with the state.