The BND published a "Notice of public hearing concerning the proposed extension of a municipal retailers' occupation tax and a municipal service occupation tax." How many people even have a clue that this is Belleville's temporary 1/4 percent sales tax increase that was adopted in place of the wheel tax?
During the last finance committee meeting, the mayor played his hand with a dozen reasons why this temporary tax should become a permanent tax.
I say, not so fast. Let's take a step back and review the reasoning behind the wheel tax and subsequent sales tax increase. With the state behind on remitting payments to the city and having reduced the per-capita tax rate the city claimed to be owed $1.6 million. Since that time in 2010 the state has made extra payments, reducing this deficit to $600,000.
The wheel tax brought in $500,000 the first year and $325,000 the second year. Add to this $1.2 million for each year from the 1/4 percent sales tax and you'll see the city has collected an additional $3,225,000.
What exactly happened to this money?
I urge people not to believe the rhetoric that without this additional tax revenue there will be drastic cuts to the police and fire personnel. Demand open budget workshops allowing the aldermen and public to have a voice in how our tax money is spent.
Join me at City Hall on 7 p.m. Monday to voice your opinion on allowing the additional sales tax to expire in December.