Boone County residents will have to decide if they support not one, but two tax referendums on April 9.
One referendum is designed to bring in money for the school districts, while the other, a property tax increase, is meant to help veterans. Several surrounding counties, including Winnebago, McHenry, and DeKalb, have similar programs in place. In Boone County, the newly-formed Veterans Assistance Commission hopes to pass the property tax increase to help veterans in their community.
"This is the first time ever the veterans of Boone County have come forward asking for your assistance," Veterans Assistance Commission President Gregory Kelm said.
VAC leaders say if the property tax increase passes on April 9, it will be permanent.
"It is capped by the State of Illinois at .04 percent," Kelm says. "We're asking for .03 percent. We will not be coming back asking for more; we will work within our budget."
The commission hopes the increase will bring in nearly $300,000 and leaders say they hope to disperse this money to veterans who need emergency financial assistance.
"They may have a car broke down, they may have a prescription that's not covered by their insurance, their furnace might be gone," Kelm explains.
The revenue would be managed entirely by the VAC, a group of ten area veterans from both the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1461 and the American Legion Post 77.
"Everybody realizes the economy is horrid, jobs are being lost, families are struggling," Kelm says. "We must not forget any of these people, but it's also important that we remember the veterans who gave everything up to and including their lives so we can enjoy the freedoms we have today."
If the referendum passes, VAC leaders say any leftover funds would still be used on veterans in need through transportation programs or lowering the standards of need.
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