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Lockport ponders sticker, power tax change

Updated: April 10, 2014 6:22AM



It’s one of those good news/bad news situations in Lockport.

The good news is that the city council is considering eliminating vehicle stickers. The bad news? Aldermen may impose a tax on electricity use.

Nothing is imminent, and aldermen agreed Wednesday night that the issue needs further discussion and research.

“We’ll give this some time,” Mayor Steven Streit said.

City finance director Erik Brown said most residents who pay for vehicle stickers would save money through the switch.

Ald. Robert Perretta (4th) said his household would do so — paying about $25 per year with the electricity tax compared with $36 per year for stickers for his two vehicles.

Brown said the tax would be $2.44 per month per 1,000 kilowatt hours. The average U.S. household uses about 903 kwh per month, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Brown said the electricity tax would save the city money because of the $280,000 it gets annually from vehicle stickers, about $45,000 is spent on administrative and employee costs.

Most aldermen expressed support for the change, but Ald. Denise Marynowski (4th) had reservations. She said churches, residents who have no vehicles and businesses that do not use vehicles would pay more with the tax.

Marynowski said the school districts would also pay more, which could lead to higher property tax bills.

If approved, the electricity tax could be implemented next year, city officials said.

On another issue, city administrator Ben Benson proposed spending $23,000 on a feasibility study on connecting Lockport’s well water system to Joliet, which also has well water.

He said Lockport does not have an emergency water supply like many other towns and that Joliet water pressure is much higher than Lockport’s, especially in the downtown area.

Ald. Jason Vandermeer (3rd) questioned the need for a study, but Benson said its results would be important even if Lockport does not plan to connect for several years and stressed the importance of having an emergency water supply, especially for firefighting.

“I don’t feel $20,000 would be a lost investment,” he said.

Other aldermen and Streit asked Benson to explore whether officials in Joliet or Lockport Township would be willing to share the costs of the study or an eventual water connection.



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