River Forest sales tax referendum flying under the radar

Service Club to hold forum at Lincoln School Oct. 27

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By Ben Meyerson

Chicago Journal Editor

River Forest voters will have a chance to weigh in on their village's sales tax rate in two weeks, but if you haven't been hanging out at village hall, you'd never know it.

The village board voted in August to put a 1 percent sales tax increase on the ballot with hopes of filling its dwindling coffers as a budget crisis looms.

The tax would bring River Forest's sales tax up to par with Oak Park, Elmwood Park, North Riverside and Melrose Park at 9.5 percent. Forest Park's is slightly lower at 9 percent and Chicago's is slightly higher at 9.75 percent.

But since putting it on the ballot after much debate amongst the trustees, there's been nary a peep on either side of the issue.

"It's just one of those things that no one's had a lot of time for," said Village President John Rigas.

River Forest resident Dan Lauber, a member of the citizens' committee that originally recommended a sales tax hike, lobbied in front of the board to put the referendum on the ballot but simply didn't have the time to lead an organized effort.

Nevertheless, he's still open to quietly lobbying for it.

"It's just really important to understand that nobody wants to raise taxes," Lauber said. "A sales tax increase of one point is not going to affect anyone."

Steve Dudek, a trustee in the minority, voted against putting the measure on the ballot in the first place. He said he doesn't think the village has done enough to cut costs to justify any kind of tax hike.

Both sides will have a chance to square off publicly outside of village hall on Oct. 27 at Lincoln School, 511 Park Ave. in River Forest, at a forum sponsored by the River Forest Service Club. Buzz Café owner and River Forest resident Laura Maychruk will moderate the debate.

Reader Comments

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John Thomas from River Forest  

Posted: October 20th, 2010 7:12 PM

Recently we were told at a meeting if it did not pass employees from the public works and fire department would be laid off like happened in the police force. I hope this is not true, all of our services are lacking already. I don't think it will cost us or other residents more money but our concern is where the new revenue would be spent.

Sean Ristau  

Posted: October 20th, 2010 2:26 PM

Here is a great idea, why doesn't the Village learn how to manage money? Such a joke, let's just keep adding more tax 1% here 5% there, bottom line that doesn't always solve the problem.


Posted: October 20th, 2010 10:35 AM

We as residents enjoy some great perks living in River Forest, which is a safe and beautiful community.We do pay a good amount of taxes to enjoy these services. Although only 11% of our property taxes go to the Village directly. Most go to the schools.I think a 1% sales tax which essentially won't affect the cost of groceries or medication is the lessor of two evils. I'm voting for it especially if it will alleviate incresing property taxes or deminsh our services.

Dan Lauber from River Forest  

Posted: October 19th, 2010 6:01 PM

Get the facts on why we need to approve this tiny increase in the sales tax (and it won't apply to 95% of the groceries we buy). Read the nonpartisan, factual report of the Citizens Advisory Committee on Village Finances at http://www.riverforestmatters.comYou'll see that the village really has cut expenses to the bone, frozen wages for 2 years, laid off 10% of staff, and will run out of reserves in 2 years if this doesn't pass.Vote "Yes" for River Forest on Nov. 2.

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