Democracy 2019: City of Wood River Adovocates for One Percent Sales Tax
WOOD RIVER – After reportedly speaking with several area residents, Wood River Mayor Cheryl Maguire sent Riverbender.com a release outlining her goals for the city while advocating for a one-cent sales tax set to be on the April 2 ballot for Wood River residents.
Maguire said the meetings with citizens occurred in July 2018 in an effort for the mayor to better hear the needs of the city. In the release, she said there were three main categories targeted for improvement by the city's people. Those include: infrastructure, specifically alleviating flooding, fixing sidewalks and road repair, quality of life, specifically the creation of a possible rec center as well as more activities for seniors and children, and housing, specifically redevelopment of existing housing and the annexation of unincorporated areas.
“In an effort to find new ways to pay for these projects there were several ideas – grants, public/private partnerships, non-home-rule sales tax, motor fuel tax, hotel/motel tax, increase property tax and reduce staff,” the release said. “For the residents of Wood River, it was concluded that the least burdensome and most fiscally responsible method as a non-home-rule sales tax.”
If passed, the one percent sales tax would bring additional revenue to projects Maguire has flagged as her administration's “top list,” the release said. Those top projects include constructing a 100-year retention pond at Sixth Street to relief flooding for homes in that area, construction of an indoor recreation center and providing a sewer separation of storm water and wastewater, which is now required by federal law.
This proposed tax, which is entirely in the hands of Wood River voters at this time, would not include prescriptions, over-the-counter medicine, cars, trucks, groceries or gasoline. It is only for “general merchandise.”
According to the release, 60 percent of the money currently spent in Wood River comes from shoppers living outside the city. For every $10 in retail revenue, the release stated $6 is from out-of-town shoppers.
It also stated Wood River has a sales tax one penny less than nearby municipalities. The example of a 99-cent McDonald's hamburger was used in the release to display that. In East Alton, Bethalto, Alton and Godfrey, that total would be $1.07. In Wood River, the release claims it is $1.06.
Reporter Cory Davenport can be reached via call or text at (618) 419-3046 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.