LEXINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — Next month, voters in the City of Lexington will be asked if they want to increase the city’s sales tax.

On Nov. 8, Lexington voters will be asked if the city should raise its sales tax rate by 0.5%. Currently, the city tax rate is 0.5%, a yes vote would raise it to 1%.

Mayor of Lexington, Spencer Johansen, said it’s a small ask, but it would give the city a way to pay for the services it provides its residents.

“Just the cost of doing business in general for anybody, any business and the city has just increased so much that we have to figure out a way to pay for those services,” Johansen said.

Much like a business or consumer, Johansen said the city is feeling the effect of inflation in its budget as well. In 2020, the city’s monthly gas expense was $933, this year it’s $1,956. Water plant power also rising; the cost last year was $20,000, and this year with two months to go it’s already north of $31,000.

Johansen said the tax increase would help offset the additional costs.

“We haven’t raised the sales tax for a number of years. We will still be one of the lowest in McLean County,” Johansen said.

If approved, Lexington’s combined tax rate would be 7.25%. Comparatively, that’s lower than similar-sized cities like Le Roy and Chenoa, both have a combined tax rate of 7.75%.

“I don’t, and we don’t want to raise taxes, but at some point, you have to look at ways to make it work, and I think raising the sales tax is the easiest thing,” Johansen said.

“I do not think a half percent is unreasonable. I’m used to being in an environment where the sales tax is much higher. Right now, we’re at 2% lower than Bloomington-Normal,” said business owner, Joyce Hightower.

Hightower owns Beyond Normal: Unique Decor & Gifts on Main Street. She said everyone, including her business, has experienced the pains of inflation.

Hightower said she thinks the increase won’t affect her much as a business owner and believes it will help the city continue to provide services to business owners and residents.

“They help us in winter to make sure sidewalks are clear so we can get customers in the door. They help us plan events and support us in events and we get publicity from them,” Hightower said.

Mayor Johansen said residents should be getting another letter sent to them in the mail about the increase question.

Anyone with questions should contact the mayor or their district council person.