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Warsaw City Council Approves Taxes

City leaders in Warsaw say two new taxes will result in better streets.

The city council voted, this week, to establish a pair of utility taxes.

One of the taxes would be on the electricity delivered by Ameren Illinois.

The ordinance establishes a sliding scale for residential or business use within the city.

The other tax would be on natural gas and its delivery from Nicor.

Instead of a sliding scale, residents and businesses would be charged a 5% tax.

The city council considered only taxing electricity, but changed its mind because of the number of homes that use primarily natural gas.

Alderman Ted Elting says these utility taxes were the best options available to the city to generate money for street repairs.

He says the city looked at adding a tax to water bills, but the revenue collected could only be used for water department projects.

Mayor Gary Treatch says the new taxes should generate just under $100,000/year for Warsaw: $80,000 from the Ameren Illinois tax and $14,000 from the Nicor tax.

Several dozen people attended last night’s meeting.  The public comments ranged from support to opposition due to the impact on local businesses and residents.

Treatch says it would be difficult to determine what an average household would pay because of the new taxes.

The new taxes would take effect May 1, 2012.  Each company would receive a small, monthly payment for collecting the money.

Treatch says the city has a long-range street repair plan that has not been addressed due to reduced road-use tax dollars.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.