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State

Livingston County voters to decide on 1 percent sales tax

(MCT) — BLOOMINGTON — Voters in Livingston County will decide in April whether to enact a 1 percent sales tax to raise money to improve school buildings.

Woodford County and LaSalle County already have the question on the April 9 ballot. Logan County approved it in 2011, putting it into effect last year.

“I’m excited about it,” said Prairie Central Superintendent John Capasso. “Our board is firmly behind it. It means getting the item on the ballot and letting voters decide.”

If approved, the tax could produce about $2 million annually for Livingston County schools, according to estimates.

Districts representing at least 50 percent of county students had to approve before the question it could be put to voters. Regional superintendent Mark Jontry filed the question Tuesday with the Livingston County clerk.

If approved by voters, districts would be allowed to use the money for their buildings. It cannot be spent on salaries, computers or other items.

The money is distributed on the basis of the number of pupils per district in Livingston County.

Capasso estimated the tax could bring more than $750,000 annually for his Fairbury-based district of 2,138 students, likely beginning in January 2014. At the top of the list would be life-safety projects such as roofs and boilers. The district could pay for such repairs and replacements instead of issuing bonds and having to pay interest.

The money also could be spent on increased security, such as surveillance, remote lock doors and other items.

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