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Normal Town Council: Vehicle tax cuts; $1 million in network upgrades

Written by on March 21, 2023

NORMAL, Ill. – The Normal Town Council (NTC) held their second town meeting of the month on March 20.

The NTC voted unanimously to do away with the town’s vehicle use tax, which applies to any Normal resident purchasing a vehicle such as a car, motorcycle, or boat.

In prior meetings this year, Karyn Smith originally proposed the idea to get rid of the vehicle use tax after the city approved of their fiscally strong budget for next year, which benefits from the numerous revenue streams the city is maintaining with an active economy and large players like Rivian bringing commerce to the area. Smith helped usher the proposition at the meeting, stating how the cut would reduce the cities annual revenue by $500,000, but the towns contingency fund of $750,000 would assist in any unseen shortfalls. Smith stressed as well that estimates for the tax cut showed that it would not cut into any other tax funded services which the town provides.

Stan Nord introduced concern that while the ¾-of-a-percent tax cut on vehicle sales would provide relief for any resident purchasing a vehicle, it would only see substantial gain for the taxpayer for those purchasing higher end vehicles, and wished to see if a tax cut that benefits everyone equally could be made. Chemberly Harris brought up how many lower income residents rely on securing vehicular transport to get to their jobs, and how this tax cut would provide much needed relief to reliant buyers who are impacted more by each additional dollar spent.

Over $1 million was approved for various network infrastructure projects around Normal, with the purchase of network infrastructure from Scientel Solutions LLC totaling over $700,000, with additional annual service costs of nearly $70,000. Another $366,000 was approved for Presidio Networked Solutions Group, LLC which would provide additional storage infrastructure for the network.

The council also approved a contract with Zoll Medical Corporation of over $370,000 for the purchase of eight cardiac monitors/defibrillators. The lifesaving medical devices would be used by the Normal Fire Department emergency vehicles, with seven being updated and one additional device being added.

The Moratz Façade Improvement Grant Program was reinstated at Monday’s meeting, which provides historically significant buildings in town with funds if needed to support upkeep and preservation. The grant originally began in 2003, but was later dropped in 2008 due to funding issues regarding the financial crisis.

Numerous public comments following the meeting reminded council members and citizens once more of the upcoming election this April 4, with issues like the Unit 5 school funding at the forefront. Six candidates; with three incumbents, are seeking the three open council seats this election. Kathleen Lorenz, Karyn Smith, and Stan Nord are running to win reelection, while newcomers Andy Byars, Marc Tiritilli, and Karl Sila are pursuing the open seats.

The town’s next council meeting will be at 7 p.m. on April 3, 2023.