Woodstock’s sales tax rate could rise in 2018 if the City Council approves an increase at a meeting later this month.

The council will consider an ordinance Sept. 19 imposing a one-point home-rule sales tax that would raise the rate in Woodstock from 7 to 8 percent, according to City Manager Roscoe Stelford.

The city’s budget was drafted with a percentage-point increase in mind, Stelford said, but the council could approve a different amount.

“Council may amend the ordinance on the floor if a majority decide a lower rate would be more appropriate,” Stelford wrote in an email.

Council members have differed publicly on how much — or if — to raise the sales tax. Most members have indicated they’ll support some type of increase, but Councilman Jim Prindiville said he opposes any hike without a referendum.

If the council were to increase the sales tax to 8 percent, Woodstock would join Lakewood and Lake in the Hills as having the joint-highest rate in McHenry County. That has alarmed some people, particularly certain business owners who’ve argued lower rates in neighboring towns could hurt their sales.

Others have said the difference between an 8 percent sales tax and, for instance, Crystal Lake’s 7.75 percent rate won’t be enough to scare away customers but could be enough to improve Woodstock’s infrastructure. The city estimates a one-point increase will bring in about $2.5 million in additional annual revenue; most council members have said they want that money earmarked for street repairs.

If approved, the higher tax rate would apply to general merchandise, excluding titled vehicles, groceries and medications. It would go into effect Jan. 1, 2018.

The council will consider the ordinance during its meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 19, at Woodstock City Hall, 121 W. Calhoun St.

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