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Local News

Proposed Joliet budget includes hike in local gas tax

The proposed Joliet budget includes $500,000 in revenue that would come from a hike in the city gas tax.
The proposed Joliet budget includes $500,000 in revenue that would come from a hike in the city gas tax.

An increase in the city gas tax is factored into the budget proposed for 2019.

The tax increase and the budget have not been approved by the Joliet City Council, and city staff has not yet put a number on the increase.

But the proposed budget includes $500,000 in additional revenue that would come from a gas tax increase, city Finance Director Jim Ghedotte said.

“We are going to look at increasing that,” Ghedotte said Wednesday. “That will be up to the council.

The Joliet city tax on gasoline is now at 1 cent a gallon.

“Most cities area at 4 cents a gallon,” Ghedotte said.

Ghedotte said staff will put a number on the gas tax increase when it is proposed to the council.

The proposed budget suggests it could be less than a 1 cent increase.

The 1-cent tax is expected to generate $680,000 this year. The proposed budget projects $1.18 million from the tax, which would be less than double what the city now gets.

The local gas tax is the only tax increase factored into the budget, although the city expects to see continued growth in tax revenue due in large part to an improved economy.

The proposed 2019 budget is balanced, while the city expects to end this year with a $3.8 million deficit largely from dipping into reserve funds for new vehicles and other capital costs.

Ghedotte said the proposed budget was balanced through “a combination of cuts and improvement in the revenue position. We are hoping the economy keeps up. We are experiencing increases in our revenue tied to the economy.”

Revenue from sales taxes, the biggest single source of tax dollars, has outpaced expectations. The city now expects to end 2018 with $50.5 million in sales tax revenue, up $5 million from what was budgeted, and is budgeting $50.5 million for 2019.

The 2019 budget projects $37.3 million from property taxes, nearly $1.8 million more than in 2018, largely from land development and higher property values.

A user tax that went into effect this year allowing cities to collect from online sales is expected to bring in $4.4 million in 2019.

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