Channahon Village President Breaks Tie on Telecommunications Tax
In a rare occurrence Monday night, Channahon Village Board members split on vote.
In the end, it all came down to one vote. And, that one vote, delivered by Channahon Village President Joe Cook, was aye.
"Being that we have to get it done to inform, I say yes," he said after voting yes.
At question was whether the village should move forward and inform the Department of Revenue that its intends to implement a telecommunications tax. The maximum a municipality can assess is 6 percent. Minooka assesses 5 percent while neighboring Shorewood assesses 3.5 percent.
The village began talking about a telecommunications tax a couple of months ago in an effort to add new revenues to the village. The village has had to enter its reserves to pay for operating costs and officials do not want to continue to do that.
That was one of the reasons Trustee Debbie Militello voted no.
"As an individual, I did everything I could to stay afloat, including going into reserves," she said of a time she was unemployed.
She added that she did not feel that the village had looked at all its options.
Efforts to Reduce Budget
The village has made a number of changes in the last few months to try to lower its expenses. At Monday night's meeting, Channahon Police Chief and Village Manager Joe Pena highlighted a couple.
"All department heads have taken five furlough days," he said. "I'm actually assuming a dual role at no cost to the village."
Channahon resident Karin Smith spoke at the meeting and pointed out that while the village is talking about a small amount of money — an estimated $34 per bill per person per year — that is too much in this economy. She said in her subdivision alone, which has only 12 houses, she has two households with residents commuting to other states for work and one foreclosure. She said she does not have cable television because it does not fit into her budget and she is concerned about the senior citizens who need phones in their homes for safety.
"That's undue stress to our families," she said. "I think we're being taxed out."
The vote Monday night was simply to inform the Department of Revenue of the village's intentions. It was not to implement the tax. Trustees Militello, Judie Nash and Scott Slocum voted no.