Freeport discusses 1% sales tax increase to fix roads

FREEPORT, Ill. (WIFR) - A back and forth between officials and residents, better roads in exchange for a 1% sales tax increase, an argument both sides say has no right or wrong solution.

Dozens pack into the Freeport Public Library Friday to discuss the possible tax increase, which will be decided by city council members Monday.

Freeport has an 8% sales tax, a typical rate for cities near the stateline, but with the motor fuel tax not raking in as much money as it used to, the city says this is the only option.

Sam Cimino, owner of Cimino's Little Italy in Freeport, says he understands the position the city is in but says increasing prices for goods and services suffocates his restaurant.

"Minimum wage is going up again, credit card fees that we endure, food costs are at an all-time high, so then you have to explain that to customers why we're going up again on prices," Cimino said. "I think the people always have a say, but I think in this case, I think it's still going to pass... yeah, it's frustrating."

Freeport City Manager Rob Boyer sympathizes with frustrated residents, saying he doesn't want to pay more in taxes either, but this is the only way to fix the problem.

"If we don't have a sustainable road program that's funded, it does limit our ability to get grants and to get outside funding from the federal government.

I know there was a lot of people with some strong feelings, however, I felt like there was a lot of engagement."

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