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Oregon voters approve additional 1% sales tax

Voters at Oregon Nachusa 4 cast their ballots. Photo by Chris Johnson
Voters at Oregon Nachusa 4 cast their ballots. Photo by Chris Johnson

Almost 54 percent of Oregon voters decided Tuesday that the city should bolster its coffers through a sales tax.

A referendum for a 1 percent sales tax passed by a margin of 817 to 698 votes.

The wording of the referendum stipulated that it will be used to pay for public infrastructure or property tax relief.

Finance Commissioner Ken Williams, who supported the referendum, said he is pleased to see it approved.

"That gives us an idea now what the people would like to do to raise funds for projects like street work," he said.

Williams had estimated that the 1 percent sales tax would bring in $240,000 per year for the city and could help pay for the $15.8 million worth of projects outlined in the city's Capital Improvement Plan.

"I think it will a good thing for Oregon citizens because more than half the money will come from people who live outside the city," he said.

The additional 1 percent sales tax will not be applied to vehicles or anything with a title, groceries, or prescription and over-the-counter medications.

Williams said the tax will be assessed starting July 1, but the city won't see the additional revenue right away.

"It will be a couple of months until we get any of that money," he said. "So the construction season may be pretty well over for this year."

The city will work with merchants, Williams said, to complete the necessary paperwork to charge the additional tax and to get their cash registers reprogrammed.

Mt. Morris approves video gaming

In Mt. Morris, voters approved a referendum to allow video gaming in the village by a margin of 692 votes to 470.

Village president Greg Unger said the owners of five establishments in the community have expressed interest in having video gaming terminals.

Several other area communities have already approved the devices.

The Illinois Video Gaming Act enacted in 2009 legalizes the use of video gaming terminals in certain establishments that hold liquor licenses, including bars, truck stops, fraternal establishments, and veterans establishments.

According to the state statute, a maximum of five terminals is allowed per establishment.

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