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Bloomington City Council votes in favor of new gas tax, video gaming licensing fees

BLOOMINGTON,Ill. (WEEK) – Bloomington City Council voted in favor of a new fuel tax and video gaming fees Monday night.

In a 5-4 vote, the council voted to pass the fuel tax which would increase the local motor fuel tax by four cents per gallon, making the total tax eight cents per gallon, effecting May first of this year.

There has been a lot of push back from residents who questioned why raising taxes is the only way to repair roads. Bloomington resident Bruce Meeks went as far as starting a petition against the increase which garnered over 500 signatures. Meeks said he worries how this tax and the one from the state will negatively impact drivers desire to pump in the city.

“With the state of Illinois looking to double theirs, this would mean that citizens of Bloomington and anyone visiting our community would be paying 46 cents total when they get a gallon of gas,” Meeks said.

As the idea of this tax increase was being presented to the council many residents worried the city might not be transparent when it comes to how they use the funds. City Manager Tim Gleason said the city has obtained the domain “Bloomingtonroads.com” to keep residents informed on how their taxes are being used.

“You know nobody wants to talk about raising taxes. But my 8 months that I’ve been here it’s been very clear that we were woefully short of funding a target number of 6 million a year just to keep our head above water,” Gleason said of the vote.

In another 5-4 vote, the council voted in favor of a new licensing fee for video gaming terminals. For businesses, the fee would be $500.00 per video gaming terminal.

The revenue from this new fee will go directly to the general fund and capital investments for Bloomington police and fire. Though one business owner said the city passing this fee further proves it is not “business friendly.”

“City of Bloomington already makes almost $800,000 a year of off video gaming with zero expenses and they want more. They’re wasting money and so they’re trying to get it from small business owners, $2,500 is a lot of money for a small business owner,” Times Past Inn owner Art Donaldson said.

Business owners will now be required to pay $500 per video gambling machine per year as a licensing fee.

To read the council’s agenda, click here.

 

Jeff Burnett

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