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Board Repeals Utility Taxes in Lieu of 1% Sales Tax

Post Date:04/10/2018

April 10, 2018 -- The Bartlett Village Board has approved a 1% sales tax on purchases made in the Village, excluding groceries, gasoline and medical purchases. This new home rule sales tax is expected to generate approximately $1.6 million in revenue.

At the April 3 Village Board meeting the trustees voted to elimination of the natural gas and electricity utility taxes, which more directly impact Village residents. This will partially offset the new sales tax.

During the past year, the Village looked at options that could help balance the budget without relying on fund reserves. However, when the recently released Illinois budget turned one-time diversions of state shared revenues into more permanent cuts for municipalities, the Board decided it was imperative to access a new revenue source. 

At the March 6 Committee of the Whole meeting, the Board discussed several reasons why this home rule sales tax is the best solution for a new revenue source:
1. It is a moderate tax on a broader tax base, not just Bartlett residents.
2. It would not put Bartlett businesses at a competitive disadvantage because neighboring communities also have a sales tax that is at the same proposed level as Bartlett's or higher.
3. Bartlett would still have a total local tax rate at or below most surrounding communities.
4. Ease of collection in that additional reporting to the Village by business is not required.

In addition to the sales tax, the Board has taken other budget initiatives to cut costs, generate revenue and spur economic development, Including:
• Approved an increase in video gaming fees.
• Approved an increase in parking and traffic violation fines.
• Approved a new garbage contract that outsources brush collection so staff time can be allocated to other projects that can be done in-house at less cost.
• Modified the health insurance plan structure and increased co pays.
• Left positions unfilled from retirement, separation or combined positions. Last year’s budget eliminated four full time positions.
• Kept the property tax levy flat.
• Saved $260,000 by refinancing 2007 fire station bonds.
• Approved a more streamlined site plan approval process for new commercial developments.
• Reduced the developer donation required for new housing construction.
• Provided incentives for commercial investment in the community through waiving certain development fees.
• Initiated a marketing program for Lake St. and Rt. 59 properties.
• Approved an RFP process for the Village owned Town Center property.

The combination of the new home rule sales tax and cuts in the new budget allowed for the elimination of the utility taxes and still leaves Bartlett with a total sales tax rate at or below most of the surrounding communities.