Mt. Vernon, IL to consider repeal of Utility Capital Improvement Fee

MT. VERNON, IL (KFVS) - Changes could be coming to Mount Vernon, Illinois.

The Utility Committee has been studying the water and sewer infrastructure.

Mt. Vernon Mayor John Lewis wants to repeal $10 capital improvement fee on your water bill.

"The meter tax is hurting our citizens...We felt it was an undue burden on our poorest and that's the ones we should be tasked to take care of – our needy and our poor -- and this is killing them."

On Friday, September 15, the city council met for a workshop to consider repealing this fee and replacing it with a 1 percent home rule sales tax.

"I hate taxes of any kind and if I could have found a way not to have any taxes and repealed it and still address our infrastructure needs, I would have done it."

Infrastructure needs like water tower maintenance and replacement, water line replacements, water meter replacements, sewer lift station replacements, sewer line replacement and relining were found. Also coming before the City Council is a plan for equipment replacement, roadway improvement plan, demolition of condemned structures and accelerated debt reduction also funded from the newly proposed sales tax.

The mayor said 25 percent of Jefferson County living at poverty level or below.

"You and I don't mind paying that $10 it's nothing to us. And that's an elitist attitude for the majority of our citizens who struggle every day," Lewis explained.

This vote will affect the entire city.

According to the Mayor, with the potential 1 percent sales tax more than half of the households will pay less than $2.25 per month compared to $10. That's a $7.75 savings. He said the tax would not apply to groceries, medicines, nor licensed vehicles.

This will result in an additional $2.3 million to the city.

Some people in the community are for doing away with the meter fee.

"They need to do away with we shouldn't be forced to pay it. Yep, everything going up. We pay enough. They can do away with it," explained Mt. Vernon resident Tangala Griffin.

Mt. Vernon resident Loren McBride disagreed.

"We are taxed to death in this county, in this city and in this state already so…I'm sick of it. I wished I lived somewhere else," McBride said.

If the City Council chooses to implement a sales tax, the ordinance will have to be passed and file with the State of Illinois by October 1.

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