Supporters say a Belvidere School Board vote to approve a referendum that would raise sales tax in Boone County by one percentage point will ease a financial burden for District 100 residents. That's if taxpayers agree in the fall.
"This is something that we believe would prove to be a property tax relief for our local taxpayers." -says Belividere Superintendent Michael Houselog.
When bonds were sold in 2006 for the construction of Belvidere North High School, the school district expected enrollment to increase, meaning more homes would be built, and more property tax would be paid. But, the district didn't anticipate a slowdown.
"The economy has tanked, but the bonds still need to be repaid." -says Houselog.
The district wants to try a new strategy to help settle a $179,000,000 bond and interest debt. By abating property tax against a proposed sales tax, Boone County residents will eventually see a decrease in property tax, and outside help will help get rid of old debt.
"Probably 35-40% of the money generated by sales tax in Boone County is generated from people living outside the county. So, therefore, we would be able to have people outside the county helping pay for our schools." -says Houselog.
But, the question still remains, how can one city's school board vote to change the sales tax county-wide?
"The [state] legislation that was written, said that any school district with over 51% of the population can call for this vote on their own." -adds Houselog.
If the referendum passes on November 6th, it will go into effect July 1st of next year. However, people in Boone County won't start seeing relief in their property taxes until 2014.