Mayor Langfelder proposes two tax increases to tackle budget deficit

If passed, McCarty said this could bring in a total of almost $5.5 million a year. (WICS)

The city is a facing an $11.5 million budget deficit. Wednesday night the committee discussed a tax proposal that was laid out last year by Mayor Jim Langfelder and was not approved.

Mayor Langfelder is proposing to raise the telecommunications tax from 4 percent to 6 percent, that money would go to support the city's public library.

Along with that, a sales tax increase of a quarter of one percent, some of the revenue would go to help pay off city debt. The committee chose to delay taking any action until next week's council meeting so members could get more details.

"In the telecom tax we are the only ones in central Illinois that is below 6 percent, 6 percent is the state max. On the sales tax side of things, we are actually the lowest Central Illinois city of any comparable size that is still at 8.5 percent, everyone else is at 8.7 or 9 percent," Bill McCarty, Director of Office of Budget Management, said.

Under normal circumstances, neither of these taxes would go into effect until July 1, however, because of the deficit Mayor Langfelder is working with legislators to try and get it passed sooner.

If passed, McCarty said this could bring in a total of almost $5.5 million a year.

He said the goal would be to start implementing the tax increase in March or April.

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