MARION, Il. (KFVS) - Marion City Council unanimously passed the Mayor’s “2020 Vision” Proposal.
In the meeting on Monday night, Marion Mayor Mike Absher presented his final argument to the Council and community saying, “Will it work? I don’t know. Is it a start? Yes. Do I apologize for it? Not one word of it.”
The mayor said the goal is to attract more people to live in the city and also to prepare the city financially when the TIF expires in 2023.
“I am here to tell you I am very concerned about what happens in the town when our TIF expires," Absher said.
By raising their home-rule sales tax from 8.75 percent to 9.5 percent, the revenue generated will equal $3,612,955. The city plans to spend $300,000 of those dollars for School Officers and Code Enforcement.
“The remainder of that money is put back for future use,” Absher said.
In addition, the proposal eliminates the city of Marion’s property tax levy on property taxes in the city limits.
“For Marion, Illinois, it will give us a very interesting story to talk about. because the more sensitive thing in Illinois is property taxes, everyone says they want property tax relief. Here it is," Absher said.
Dan Fox is the owner of the Marion business Fox Comics and Sports Cards. He said he wants the property tax relief but feels the city can save the money instead of increasing the sales tax.
“We are voting at dinner time when most of the citizens can’t come up and hear what’s going on. I don’t think it’s nefarious, but I do think people need to know that this is the tax that will be burdening the people of Marion from this day forward," Fox said.
Ron Deedrick is the Local Government Affairs Director with Illinois Realtors. As a member of the audience today, he said this vote will impact realtors in Williamson County.
“Anytime a unit of government is looking to abate its portion of property taxes or significantly reduce that, that is huge for realtors who are looking to risk, sell, show, move properties in southern Illinois,” Deedrick said.
The money will also go towards City Council’s Five-Strategic Goals:
1. City-wide revitalization program to focus on the beautification of our town, signage and branding to better present ourselves to those that visit us.
2. Economic Development tools, including answering “what’s after TIF” to be able to redevelop blighted areas of town as those TIFs start expiring soon.
3. A Plan to see that uniformed sworn police officers are posted to the remaining 6 schools in our school district to protect our children and personnel.
4. Code Enforcement Reform
5. Position our town and marketing ourselves aggressively to those that might seek to live here and bring their jobs here (“Property Tax Relief”)
Next, the city will notify the businesses affected by the increase in tax rate starting January 1. Property tax owners will see the change in their first 2020 property tax bill installment.