Carpentersville enacts new gas tax

CARPENTERSVILLE Carpentersville authorities say the money from the taxes will help pay for repairs for roads and other projects that are long overdue.

"Gas is pretty much ridiculous. It keeps going up and up, and we don't see any benefit from it," said motorist Dan Huston.

Officials say Carpentersville villagers will see benefit from the two-cents-a-gallon motor fuel tax that went into effect Thursday and was expected to generate $250,000 each year to offset the cost of road, sidewalk and sewer repairs.

The repairs are part of a multi-year capital improvement plan that the village is enacting for the first time in decades.

"Yes, they are going to be paying a little bit more in taxes, but when they see those improvements happening in front of their home, their place of business, or on their commute, to and from somewhere, it will make it a more palatable," Village Engineer Scott Marquardt.

Marquardt helped put together a capital improvement plan which included tearing up and repaving roads.

Still, paying two cents more for gas is a hard sell for drivers who say they are already feeling the pinch at the pump.

"If it's really going to go to roads, I believe that there are a lot around here that need it," said one woman who was filling up at a Carpentersville gas station.

"Look at the roads. It needs to be fixed, but they still shouldn't tap into the gas prices," another driver said.

"We didn't want to do it. If there were other methods [we would use those], but with the municipality, the only real significant revenue streams we have are taxes; either property taxes, sales taxes, income taxes, gasoline taxes, or what have you," said Village Finance Director Lisa Happ.

Already, other departments in the Carpentersville village are hoping the extra money can benefit them someday. The Public Works Department, for example, needs a new building to house its equipment.

"Currently, I have over $2 million-worth of equipment that sits out throughout the year, and that takes its toll on equipment.

Carpentersville is the first 'home rule' community to impose its own gas tax, which is in addition to Kane County, which doubled its gas tax to four cents per gallon in 2007.

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