School districts throughout Woodford County followed through with a goal to put a facilities sales tax referendum on the March 20 ballot as they individually approved resolutions at meetings in October. The topic had been discussed jointly by the superintendents and individually by school boards over the past few months. It will be up to Regional Superintendent of Schools Pat Durley to arrange for the question to go on the ballot once he receives enough resolutions from school boards representing at least half of the student population in the county.
A previous referendum failed in 2013. If successful, the referendum would assess a one-percent sales tax on goods sold in Woodford County. Excluded from the sales tax would be vehicles, farm equipment and parts, boats and RVs, unprepared food, drugs and services. Businesses would pay the tax collected to the Illinois Department of Revenue, which would keep two percent of the total for administrative purposes and disburse the rest to the Regional Office of Education. The ROE would then distribute the money to school districts based on their enrollments. While the revenue would pass through the state, it is not subject to the General Assembly budget process or to cuts made annually by that body.
A similar public safety tax was implemented by voters in 1998 to be used to build and maintain the county jail. Since its inception, that tax has generated about $1.7 to $1.9 million annually for county coffers to pay public safety-related expenses.
See article on Nov. 2 Woodford County Journal newsstands