BLOOMINGTON — Two McLean County taxing bodies are turning to voters Tuesday to solve long-term funding problems.
For Lexington schools, the question on the primary ballot is whether the district increase its tax rate by 50 cents for the next four years.
“We’re hoping running (the tax increase) for four years will give us 10 years' life," said Superintendent Dwight Stricklin. "If it does not pass, we’ll continue to do what we’re doing now as long as we can.”
After that 10-year period, the district will be debt-free and more able to cope with poor financial support from the state, Stricklin said.
The district's tax rate is currently $3.40 per $100 of equalized assessed value, or $1,851 per year for a $165,000 home. After the proposed increase, that figure would be $2,124.
The increase would generate about $370,000 annually, Stricklin said. The district has had budget deficits of $151,000, $584,000, $852,000 and $785,000 over the last four years, he added — a positive trend only because of deep personnel cuts.
Despite the cost, public response to the question has been positive, said school board President Jason Thomas. Stricklin said residents recognize “it’s not just a referendum for the school; it’s a referendum for the town,” because “what happens to one will happen to the other.”
“We really feel everyone’s behind this and want to see our school district and community be here indefinitely,” Thomas said.
The City of Chenoa would double its $150,000 annual sales tax haul if voters approve a 1-cent increase to its current rate of 6.25 percent, said Mayor Chris Wilder.
That money would be used to repair the city's water plant and water mains, which Wilder said are deteriorating rapidly.
Wilder said he's confident the measure will pass.
"The way it has been presented to the people has helped. They knpw exactly what the City Council would like to do upon approval, and I believe they have faith in us to do exactly as we say,” he said.