Barrington Places Three Referenda Questions on November Ballot
The Village of Barrington Board of Trustees voted on Thursday, July 26th to place three referenda questions on the November ballot. The first two are advisory questions while the third is a binding referendum question. They are as follows:
- Should the Village of Barrington provide a preference to Village residents at specific locations in the Village’s commuter parking lots which are used by residents of other communities?
- Should the Village of Barrington consider the use of renewable energy sources in any future projects if that does not increase the cost of the project by more than ten percent (10%)?
- Shall the Corporate Authorities of the Village of Barrington be authorized to impose a Municipal Retailer’s Occupation Tax and a Municipal Service Occupation Tax (which together are commonly referred to as “municipal sales tax”) within the Village in accordance with 65 ILCS 5/8-11-1.1, 5/8-11-1.2, 5/8-11-1.3, and 5/8-11-1.4, at a rate of 1% for expenditures on public infrastructure and/or for property tax relief?
(65 ILCS 5/8-11.1.2 defines “public infrastructure” as: municipal roads and streets, access roads, bridges, and sidewalks; waste disposal systems; and water and sewer line extensions, water distribution and purification facilities, storm water drainage and retention facilities, and sewage treatment facilities.)
Question 1, which references providing a preference to Village residents at specific locations in the Village’s commuter parking lot, seeks to provide information to the Village Board and staff as it considers various commuter parking enhancements and restructuring in the near future. The Village has recently reached an agreement with the First Church of Christ Scientists at 421 E. Main Street to acquire 88 additional parking spaces and is currently planning new ways to maximize the use of the commuter lot and provide priority parking.
Question 2, which references the use of renewable energy sources in future projects, seeks to provide information on whether residents support the use of renewable energy sources in planning future projects in the Village.
Question 3, which references a 1% increase in the municipal sales tax, would provide additional revenue to assist the Village in replacing a recent decline in revenue from utility taxes, due in part to residents’ declining use of land-line phones. The tax is estimated to generate an average of an additional $1 million per year in revenue, which can be used for public infrastructure projects as defined by the Illinois statute above. The additional revenue is needed due to the rising costs of infrastructure projects, in addition to the continued increasing burden of pension costs, which strains the Village budget each year.
This additional sales tax is available to non-home-rule communities such as Barrington in accordance with the Illinois statute listed above. Many of the Village’s neighboring communities already impose such a tax pursuant to this statute, including South Barrington, Lake Zurich, Deer Park, Schaumburg, Arlington Heights, Palatine, and others.
By law, the tax is not applicable to vehicle sales or food and prescription drug sales.
Village President Karen Darch said of the decision, “The 1% Municipal Sales Tax referendum question is being offered to our voters as a way for the Village of Barrington to garner revenue support not only from Village residents, but also from those in our surrounding communities who shop in town and make use of the infrastructure that the Village provides, including parking lots, sidewalks, streets, and public facilities. In fact, we know that more than half of our retail sales taxes come from those outside the Village.
“We hope our voters will agree that this slight sales tax increase is an optimal way for us to increase revenue for infrastructure projects without having to resort to a property-tax referendum, which places the burden solely on our Village residents. This way, all those who benefit from our downtown retail center will help pay for the improvements, just as our residents do for neighboring communities when they choose to shop or dine there.”