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Gleason: Bloomington Has The Votes To Pass Gas Tax Hike

Tim Gleason
Amy Niebur
Bloomington City Manager Tim Gleason said a gas tax increase would provide the "bare minimum" to help the city repair its crumbling infrastructure.

After meeting with aldermen over the last two days, Bloomington City Manager Tim Gleason said he believes there's enough city council support for a 4-cent increase in the gas tax.
Gleason said the proposal will be on the council agenda Monday night.

“I’m being directed to bring this forward,” Gleason said. “From the time that it was first discussed it was discussed openly because there was support.”

Gleason says the estimated $2.3 million the tax would generate annually would provide the city the “bare minimum” it needs to keep up with its deteriorating roads. It would take effect on May 1.

City staff floated the idea of raising the tax last year under City Manager David Hales, but the council balked.

Gleason said Public Works Director Jim Karch has helped make the case to the council that the city’s infrastructure spending has been inadequate.

“My council knows that we are falling short in meeting the needs,” Gleason said.

Normal hasn't expressed any interest is raising its gas tax. Gleason said while the city would prefer parity, they are prepared to go it alone.

“The needs in the Town of Normal are potentially different than the needs in the City of Bloomington,” Gleason said. “So they need to assess what their needs are.”

Gleason said while he’s concerned the city could lose some business to Normal, he expects motorists may not notice a price difference.

“Often times the gasoline stations in the communities that are in close proximity they bump their prices up,” Gleason said.

Gleason said if the council approves the hike, aldermen will vote at the April 8 meeting on a plan to specify the funds can only be used on infrastructure.

“It’s already restricted, but we are going to take additional steps to restrict all of these funds so that the community can have that level of assurance that the money is being used exactly the way it was intended,” Gleason said.

The council will also vote on a new $500 annual fee for video gambling terminals. That would generate about $125,000 annually for the city.

“The council has directed that will be an agenda item and that, at least at this point, indicates that we continue to have majority support,” Gleason said.

The city has about 250 video gambling terminals, but has a moratorium on any new gamlbing establishments. 

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Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
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