New Funding Option Could Help Us Repair Our Streets
Well-maintained streets are essential to the public’s safety, to a business’ ability to operate and to the Village’s ability to attract new businesses, jobs and investment to our town. With 73% of our streets considered in either “poor” or “failing” condition, Franklin Park is exploring a new funding option that will help us repair, replace and maintain our aging streets. We are formulating a plan that could address most of this serious issue without raising property taxes. The plan proposes a referendum to approve enacting a 1% sales tax.
Over the last few years, Franklin Park has seen a strong increase in businesses moving into our Village. We want to capture that economic vitality to improve our Village and utilize the 1% sales tax to further improve our roads. Below are questions and answers about the Proposed Street Improvement Plan.
What is the current condition of the streets in Franklin Park?
Approximately 73% of Franklin Park’s 115 streets are in poor, very poor, serious or failed condition, according to a 2012 independent analysis. In fact, only about 12 percent of the Village’s streets are in good or satisfactory condition.
Why should residents be concerned about the condition of the Village’s streets?
The condition of our streets has a direct impact on vehicle and pedestrian safety as well as property values. Properly maintained streets also benefit emergency responders, enhance economic development and reduce the wear and tear on our vehicles.
Does it make economic sense to be proactive in repairing our streets?
Yes. Preventative maintenance can substantially extend the life of the Village’s streets and save taxpayer dollars over the long run. It’s no different than the economic benefits of properly maintaining your home. In fact, the cost of repairing or replacing streets dramatically increases over time if no efforts are made to properly maintain them.
How is the Village considering paying for street improvements without increasing property taxes?
The Village Board is considering placing a 1% sales tax measure on the March 2014 ballot.
What purchases would be excluded from proposed sales tax?
The proposed 1% sales tax would NOT apply to groceries or medicine. Furthermore, the proposed sales tax would NOT increase property, utility or gasoline taxes. The sales tax would also NOT impact real estate transfer taxes.
What other communities use a 1% sales tax to maintain streets and upgrade other critical infrastructure?
Northlake, Schiller Park, Rosemont, Norridge, Elmwood Park, Melrose Park and River Grove currently rely on a 1% sales tax to make village-wide improvements including infrastructure maintenance.
Why do many taxpayers prefer a sales tax over a property tax?
By using a sales tax, and NOT a property tax, homeowners are not shouldering the tax burden. In fact, an estimated 40% of the sales tax revenue would come from shoppers who are not residents of Franklin Park.
What is the economic impact of raising Franklin Park’s sales tax?
With the addition of the 1% sales tax, our local sales tax will NOT be greater than our neighboring communities. This is important because it will not result in the loss of business for our local retailers and other local businesses.
How can residents provide input on the proposed street improvement plans and 1% sales tax proposal?
The Village will be conducting a community opinion survey in the near future. A Citizen Advisory Committee on Infrastructure has also been formed to evaluate the Village’s new proposal. This group will be making recommendations to the Village Board in November 2013.
The final decision to place a 1% sales tax measure on the ballot this spring will not be made until December 2013, providing additional time for community input.