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Oswego should decide soon on tax increases : Editorials : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Oswego should decide soon on tax increases

The Oswego Village Board narrowly voted this past week to reject two tax hike proposals that would have increased municipal revenues to pay for an expanded street maintenance program this year and in the years ahead. Instead, the village will dip into reserves in its Motor Fuel Tax (MFT) fund to pay for this year's program. The end result will leave the village with about $375,000 left in its MFT fund at the end of the current fiscal year next April 30 and facing up to more than $2 million in street maintenance and other capital costs for the fiscal year that will begin next May 1.

On the plus side, there is plenty of time for the board to consider its options and either reduce the amount of streets and other capital projects it wants to fund next fiscal year or find new revenues to pay for those projects.

We believe it would be constructive for the board to decide as soon as possible whether they will be willing to seriously consider a tax increase to fund its street maintenance and other capital improvement programs for next fiscal year and beyond. If they are not, they should scour next year's budget as it is being prepared for further cuts.

Can the village rely solely on natural revenue growth and continued budget cutting in the years ahead to pay for its annual street maintenance program and other capital infrastructure needs? We remain skeptical. The key problem is the explosive residential growth the village experienced over the past 15 years or so. All those thousands of newer village residents are living on streets that were installed within a few years of each other and will "come due" for resurfacing at roughly the same time. As result, the village's annual cost for street maintenance will surely rise significantly in the years ahead.

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