At the March 21 election, the Village of Riverside is seeking voter approval to impose a 1-percent sales tax on retail purchases, excluding food purchased at the grocery store, drugs and automobiles. This new tax was authorized by the state for communities like Riverside that are seeking stable sources of revenue without raising property taxes.

Revenue from this proposed tax can only be used for infrastructure purposes (roads, sidewalks, etc.), or for real estate tax abatement. The village board has directed that proceeds of this tax will be used address our road and sidewalk construction and maintenance programs.

If this tax is approved, it is expected to generate $177,000 annually. This amount, added to motor fuel tax revenues received by the village, will provide both adequate and reliable revenues to fund our annual road and sidewalk programs. Further, such funding would significantly reduce the need to raise real estate taxes for this purpose in the future.

Most surrounding communities already have or are seeking a similar tax. This proposed tax will not affect your real estate taxes. And it will have only a minimal impact on most Riversiders shopping in our local stores. As a matter of fact, it is expected that most of the tax would be paid by non-residents who shop at Brookfield Zoo shops and restaurants or the convenience store/gas stations located along Riverside’s Harlem Avenue border.

This referendum presents Riverside voters with a unique opportunity to increase revenues needed to maintain our roads and sidewalks, and to raise these funds from shoppers not living in our community.

Neighboring communities have used this technique for decades, and now Riverside has a chance to use a similar approach to help us maintain our infrastructure. More information about this referendum is available at the Riverside village office in the town hall or on the village web site

I urge you to support our village financial needs promoting progress, renewal and preservation. Vote “yes” for the 1-percent sales tax for Riverside on March 21.

Harold J. Wiaduck, Jr., village president