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Galesburg approves sales tax increase for street repairs, community center

Galesburg City Hall.jpg
Jane Carlson
Tri States Public Radio
The sales tax increase approved by the city council will generate an additional $950,000 for the city.

After the tax goes into effect in July, anyone shopping, dining, or buying gas in Galesburg will pay an extra 25 cents in tax per $100 spent.

The Galesburg city council approved a .25 percent increase to the home rule sales tax on a 4-3 vote that will generate $950,000 a year for the city.

Council members Sarah Davis, Dwight White, Jaclyn Smith-Esters, and Kevin Wallace voted for the tax increase. Those against were Bradley Hix, Wayne Dennis, and Larry Cox.

Public comments before the vote lasted about an hour, with many speaking in favor.

That’s after some residents and business owners spoke out against any tax increase in the current economy at previous meetings.

Holly McDorman, a Galesburg resident and mother of eight, said she was in favor of the tax increase, which will augment available funds for street repairs and help pay for renovating the former Churchill Junior High into a community center.

“If I’m willing to sacrifice that on the tight budget that I have with my children. I don’t understand how everyone is not on board with that as well,” McDorman said.

The city sold its former community center at 150 E. Simmons St. in 2013 to a private developer. That property is now Iron Spike Brewing Company.

Plans to move the community center to the Carver Center were foiled when that building burned to the ground a few years later and was never rebuilt.

Tony Franklin said he was disappointed to move back to Galesburg a few years ago and see no community center. He also is in support of the tax increase.

“I don’t have a lot of income. I’m retired. But I will support that, because I know it’s in the best interests. It’s not about me. It’s about helping others,” Franklin said.

The city also identified street repairs as a priority for the extra revenue after the community named that as a top issue in a recent survey.

The council also voted down a resolution that would put the tax increase on the ballot.

That vote was also split four-to-three, but with Hix, Dennis, and Cox voting in favor.

After the tax goes into effect in July, anyone shopping, dining, or buying gas in Galesburg will pay an extra 25 cents in tax per $100 spent.

It also bumps the general merchandise sales tax to 9 percent, and the food and beverage sales tax to 11 percent within the city limits.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Jane Carlson is TSPR's regional reporter.