Plans in motion for Greene County sales tax

By Ryne Turke on November 7, 2014 at 1:22pm

North Greene’s superintendent is talking about what the future has in store for the school buildings in Greene County after the passage of the one-cent sales tax.

Final results from Tuesday’s General Election reported 2,281 yes votes compared to 1,973 no votes for Greene County.

Les Stevens hopes to have the other superintendents in the district get together with the Stifel Agency out of St. Louis. Stevens says this group has plenty of experience with the one-cent sales tax.

“We have to find out how this gets put into our budget next year and how we keep track of the money,” says Stevens.

“This money can only be spent on school facilities. We are accountable to the voters, to assure everyone that we are spending the money on the right things and not spending it on expenditures, which aren’t allowable.”

The meetings will give the school districts plenty of time to plan out how to use the sales tax money.

According to Stevens, Greene County won’t start seeing revenue from the sales tax until October 2015. After that point, school districts will receive money based on school enrollments.

Stevens says there are several areas of need throughout the schools in Greene County. He lists a number of concerns in the North Greene school district.

“We need a new roof over the gymnasium at the junior high, some asbestos abatement, new windows, fireproof doors and safe and accessible bleachers for our school plays and athletic events,” says Stevens.

“There can also be all types of things done with regard to energy efficiency. Obviously we won’t be able to tackle it all at once, but we can tackle it as we can.”

Stevens says Greene County is one of the few counties in the state that passed a one-cent sales tax referendum this General Election.

“We were two of six counties that got the Illinois County School Facility Sales Tax passed,” says Stevens.

“There were eight other counties in the state that tried that initiative and it went down. That brings a total of 30 counties of the 102 counties in Illinois who now have the sales tax or soon will. That is about one-third of our state, county wise anyway.”

On behalf of the other superintendents in Greene County, Stevens thanked the voters for passing the sales tax. He says this will allow the school districts to be more proactive in keeping the facilities clean, sufficient and running properly.