Mayor's plans to extend sales tax has Belleville residents crying foul

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by Lauren Trager / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on July 24, 2013 at 10:59 PM

 (KMOV) -- Sneaky and dishonest: that's what some city leaders are calling a plan for your tax dollars.

Belleville alderwoman Lillian Schneider told News 4, their sales tax is already much higher than in surrounding towns.

A portion of that tax is set to expire at the end of this year, but the mayor here in Belleville wants to extend it. Schneider is against it. 

"We are not holding up our end of the bargain,” Schneider said.

Belleville leaders made that bargain back in 2011. They needed money because the state was withholding tax dollars.

A controversial wheel sticker tax had already failed miserably.

So instead, they passed a quarter cent sales tax increase. Alderwoman Schneider said it was intended to be temporary.

"The people need to trust us that we are going to do what we said we are going to,” she said.

But she says the very opposite has been proposed, Mayor Mark Eckert wants to keep the tax going-maybe forever.

"I think it's time to take action,” he said.

The tax raises $1.2 million every year, covering the shortfall from the state and then some. The mayor now wants it to hire four more cops.

"If people are really serious about hiring more police officers, it's very important to extend this tax,” Mayor Eckert said.

News 4’s Lauren Trager asked if by extending the tax-- the mayor was breaking a promise to the people.

"We never ever once mislead them and promised it was going away, we said we would review it,” he said.

Schneider disagrees. She wants the people of Belleville to speak up at a public meeting on the issue at City Hall next Monday at 7 p.m. 

News 4 will continue to follow this story. 

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