At Monday evening’s Herscher village board meeting, a 1% sales tax Referendum was approved to be voted on by village residents in the April 2021 Consolidated Election. 

The village receives only 1% of the current 6.25% sales tax from the state of Illinois. In order to help improve the condition of the village streets and sidewalks, and to maintain other areas of village such as the sewer plant, the referendum has been proposed.

A letter submitted by Village President, Ray Schneider and the Village Trustees, states that they were hoping to avoid the referendum by using the Illinois Motor Fuel Tax Funds.

 Unfortunately, the Motor Fuel Tax has been “inadequate and unfairly distributed and favors heavily populated areas.” The MFT funds have offered only 40-55 thousand dollars per year for the last twenty years, and the village needs approximately 150-200 thousand dollars per year to properly maintain the village streets.

The board was hopeful that a statewide MFT increase last year would solve the problem, but, unfortunately that was not the case. The letter continues, “the cost of not acting now would result in further deterioration of our streets and, in turn, cost us more to repair the deteriorated roads as we wait on MFT funds to accumulate.” 

The 1% referendum sales tax increase, which excludes food, medicines, vehicles, and other registered items like farm machinery and equipment, would raise the rate to 7.25% which would make it the same or lower than other area towns. The letter states that additional information will be presented, and public hearings will be held in the upcoming months.

In other matters, cleanup of Horse Creek is underway and is scheduled to be completed in the coming weeks. In addition, a bid for a retaining wall at the Lift Station was approved to Tobey’s Construction for a cost of $29,300. 

Projects being done by Nicor and AT&T on the east side of town should be completed in the not-too-distant future. 

Finally, in the season of giving, the Village Board approved for Police Chief, Chad Scanlon, to participate in the Shop with a Cop program. An annual donation of bicycles to Bonfield Grade School was approved as well.