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Deer Park to consider tax hike for roadwork
By Eric Peterson | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 8/4/2010 9:25 AM | Updated: 8/4/2010 9:26 AM

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Deer Park officials Thursday night will discuss framing a referendum question for the Nov. 2 ballot that would seek approval of higher taxes for road repairs.

"People are fed up with government and taxes, but they do want good roads," Village President Bob Kellermann said.

Thursday's 7 p.m. special meeting at the Vehe Barn will focus on whether the referendum question would seek funding by levying the village's first property tax, by an increase in the sales tax or by a combination of the two.

The property tax levy under consideration would collect about $700 per year from the typical Deer Park resident. The proposed half-percent increase in the sales tax - which would collect from visitors as well - is projected to cost the average Deer Park resident between $35 and $65 per year.

The half-percent sales tax increase would raise an estimated $800,000 per year for the village, Kellermann said.

Roads are a crucial issue in Deer Park right now because most of them were built in the 1970s and are about 10 years past their optimal replacement time, Kellermann added.

And while it might take a few more years for these aging roads to crumble completely, replacing them now would both cut down on costly maintenance in the meantime as well as take advantage of the slow economy to get the work done for less money, Kellermann said.

A referendum to raise more money for roads failed two years ago, but Kellermann said he believes more people have since recognized replacement of the roads as a critical issue.

"In this economy, no one wants tax increases, particularly myself," he said.

If a question is recommended Thursday night, a second vote to put it on the ballot would be taken at the next regular meeting Aug. 16 - the last possible day to add a referendum to the election.

While the Deer Park Town Center built in the late '90s currently generates $1.6 million per year in sales tax revenue for the village from, $1.5 million of that goes annually to the village's contract for police service from neighboring Kildeer.