Whiteside County Schools Consider 1% Sales Tax - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Whiteside County Schools Consider 1% Sales Tax

Updated: Nov 13, 2012 06:28 PM CST

School leaders in Whiteside County are hoping to get a one percent sales tax question on the April ballot. Whiteside County Regional Superintendent, Bob Sondgeroth, says everything from roofs, to boilers, to windows need to be replaced in many of the schools in the area. However, right now the only way to pay for those " big ticket" upgrades is through property taxes and what is known as health-life-safety bonds.

Right now if a leaking roof needs to be replaced the school has to ask the state for one of those bonds. If the state says yes to the repair, it can not only take up to a month to get the money, but residents could also see an increase of up to five percent on their property taxes. The hike will foot the bill for a new roof, but school leaders say if a one percent sales tax were to pass people would actually pay less.

"I think in these economic times there are two ways to look at it, the state is not coming through with the funds so somebody has to pay the bill and this is way to have it spread out over more of the public," said Sondgeroth.

"Instead of the neighbors across the street having to pay for it and the neighbors on the other side having to pay for all of it, we would basically have anybody that stopped off of I-88 and stopped in Whiteside County to purchase something, they'd be able to help pay for it as well," said Dan Arickx, the Rock Falls Superintendent.

Both men say things like groceries or medications will not be taxed. Therefore not everyone will be affected.

"If they buy a $300 TV its going to cost $303," Arickx said.

Both men say it's a small price to pay to keep the buildings students spend so much time in safe. To get the question on the ballot a majority of the school districts in the county will have to agree on it. They are expected to decide by December and submit their proposal by January. The sales tax has been on the ballot twice before and turned down by voters both times. If passed it could bring in around 4.2 million to the schools across the county. However, the money can only be used on building repairs and maintenance.