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Daily Journal
December 15, 2022
#26-349 KDJ

Kankakee vehicle sticker to be repealed

By Lee Provost

KANKAKEE — Kankakee residents should not peel off the green 2022 vehicle stickers on their windshields.

Leave that to the city.

The Kankakee City Council’s Budget Committee unanimously voted Monday to repeal the vehicle sticker ordinance, meaning the $35-per-sticker program will come to a close on June 30, 2023.

To be formally approved, the ordinance must be repealed by the full city council. That action is expected to be completed in January or February.

Vehicles still need to have the current stickers attached to their vehicles until the end of June.

Like any tax, it was unpopular and was frequently met with public criticism.

Comptroller Elizabeth Kubal said the concept behind the need for the vehicle sticker was to get the city through a tough financial period. That mission has been accomplished.

Kubal noted while the city consistently projected to raise $425,000 through the program, the actual amount realized was much lower once expenses were factored in.

She noted annually since 2014, in administrative costs through police enforcement, legal fees, temporary additional staff, and the cost of the actual stickers and residential mailings, the city spent about $150,000 to $160,000 toward the program.

Kubal said revenues are up, thanks to stronger sales taxes, corporate business taxes and gaming taxes.

She added that through the combination of less expense from implementation of the vehicle sticker program and rising tax revenues, the city is seeing an increase of $587,000 — just about double of what the vehicle tax brought in after expenses were subtracted.

Budget Committee Chairman Mike O’Brien, D-2, said this is a step the city has been looking at for six months.

He said once Kubal presented the numbers, the elimination of the tax was put in motion.

Alderman Carl Brown, D-7, noted it’s important for residents to know the city just doesn’t collect taxes it does not need.

“We had lost sales tax sharing revenues. [The vehicle tax] was necessary at that point in time. Now we can eliminate it,” he said.

The sales tax sharing plans generated millions of dollars for the city. The rules governing a municipality’s ability to establish those sales-tax sharing programs were changed through the Illinois Department of Revenue. That revenue source for Kankakee largely evaporated about 10 years ago.

Mayor Chris Curtis was an alderman when the city was experiencing those harsh fiscal years. He said the city would have had difficulty balancing its budget without the sticker tax.

“This is something we can absorb,” he said of abolishing the tax. “We can pass the savings back to residents. ... We can relieve residents of that burden.”

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Lee Provost
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