ALTON — Residents are circulating a petition to have an Alton School District property tax increase added to the ballot.
A public notice Dec. 16 informed residents of the School Board’s decision to increase property taxes by $8,725,000 for the working cash fund. On Dec. 19, 2014, the district increased taxes by $11 million, also for the working cash fund. Residents did not challenge the 2014 tax increase.
“If a school district in Missouri wanted to increase property taxes, it would have to be approved by voters,” Alton resident Ed Kreitner said. “In Illinois we have a loophole called the ‘backdoor referendum,’ and that’s how property tax increases have been getting passed. This is the second one in two years. If 3,251 people don’t sign a petition within 30 days, it won’t go to voters on the ballot and our taxes would go up without us even knowing about it.”
School district residents can sign the petition before the Jan. 15 deadline from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday at Kreitner Properties & Leasing, 222 Herbert St. in Alton.
“It makes me wonder how many times are they going to increase our taxes without the people having a right to have a say in it,” Kreitner said. “People don’t have to declare if they are for or against the tax increase to sign the petition. The petition is only allowing citizens the right to have a choice and let it be counted.”