Collinsville taxpayers finally have a solid figure on their utility tax after hemming and hawing by their leaders before the vote: 4 percent, up from 1.25 percent.
The average homeowner will pay an extra $56 per year and the average business an extra $228 a year starting March 1. Collectively, taxpayers just contributed nearly $1 million more in taxes to the city.
Some council members appear to be aware they are spending other people’s money, some not so much. What seems most objectionable about this increase is city leaders acting compassionate towards the elderly, poor and disabled and then giving them so many hoops to jump through to get a rebate after paying the tax.
It seems that if you truly can’t afford the tax, then you can’t pay it in the first place. You should get a pass on the front end, not the back end.
Collinsville will rebate your tax if you: Submit an application by April 30; Provide a property tax bill or lease; Provide all utility tax bills from the calendar year; Provide a copy of state or federally issued ID to prove age; or provide an Illinois Person with a Disability Identification Card stating that the claimant is under a Class 2 disability, or provide a completed income tax return, IRS Notice 703 or an affidavit indicating that no income tax return was filed for the prior calendar year.
When Councilwoman Nancy Moss questioned the complicated system, which a cynic would think was designed to discourage rebates so the city could keep the money, we saw the Queen of Receipts come to its defense.
Councilwoman Cheryl Brombolich’s Amazon and other shopping receipts while city clerk and using city accounts took the News-Democrat an eight-month legal battle to pry from the city. She said her parents, in their late 80s, “save every bill they pay.” As long as they got a little help, she said her folks could manage the rebate process.
For the rest of the elderly, poor and disabled Collinsville residents without someone to help them with the utility tax rebate process, maybe Brombolich will make herself available. She’s sure to do a bang-up job helping with any financial issue you may have.