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Sales tax referendum passes by wide margin in Flossmoor

Flossmoor Mayor Paul Braun, along with trustees and other supporters, celebrated Tuesday night the passage of a referendum question that will implement a 1 percent village sales tax.

  Sandy Rude from Flossmoor, clasps Don
  Grasse as they celebrate the penny passage in
  Flossmoor. Looking on is Flossmoor trustee,
  Jim Mitros.
(Photos by Mary Compton/H-F 
  Chronicle)
 

Flossmoor Mayor Paul Braun, along with trustees and other supporters, celebrated the passage of a referendum question that will implement a 1 percent village sales tax.
 

They sipped cocktails and beers in the banquet room at Flossmoor Station Brewery, drinks that will cost 1 percent more starting May 1, when the tax goes into effect. The sales tax will apply to most products sold in Flossmoor, not including most grocery items, medical equipment, prescription and non-prescription medications.
 
“The village staff and educational committee did a wonderful job getting the word out, explaining why we need it and making sure people understood,” Braun said. “You’d have to be living under a rock not to have heard about it.”
 
In the runup to the vote, trustees mailed residents educational materials, hosted two informational sessions and walked the village, dropping door knockers explaining the intent of the tax. The village board also engaged a group of residents who were interested in supporting the referendum question. 
 
Leading the group was Flossmoor resident Don Grasse, who said the tax makes sense and that’s why he was willing to advocate for it. Grasse developed the slogan, “A Penny on the Dollar Makes Cents for Flossmoor,” and was a vocal proponent.
 
“This was a no-brainer,” he said. “We couldn’t afford to lose. This​ is a​ conservative, financially sound government. I trust these guys.”

 

Grasse distributed more than 200 yard signs with his slogan, advertising the referendum question.

Flossmoor Trustee James Mitros said the positive vote offers validation that the community believes in the board’s judgment in protecting the village’s finances. The village sales tax takes pressure off any need to raise property taxes.
 
“The citizens are the winners, not us,” Mitros said. “Ninety percent of this tax revenue will be coming from people who live outside the community.”
 
Trustee Diane Williams was enthusiastic that residents approved the referendum question, but she reminded that the estimated $550,000 brought in by the new sales tax won’t be a windfall for the village. It will be revenue that will help the village maintain vital services, Williams said. 
 
“But, it is a relief, and will also allow us to build on strategies for the future,” she said.
 
In the most immediate term, Braun said the tax revenue will go toward funding police and fire services, and repairing Flossmoor’s ailing streets and sidewalks.
 
“This was some short-term planning that had to take place,” Braun said. “It should give the board staff a good opportunity to move forward with some repairs, and we’ll still do our best at holding down costs.”

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