Voters cast their ballots at an Urbana poll Tuesday. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Urbana city income tax increase again rejected

Urbana’s first increase in the city’s income tax in 27 years, which officials sought to provide more stability for police and firefighters, has been rejected for the second time in two years.

Unofficial results from the Champaign County Board of Elections show 1,849 votes against the tax increase (52.68 percent) and 1,661 votes for it (47.32 percent).

The city’s income tax has been 1.4 percent since 1991, when voters passed an additional .4 percent. That raised the income tax from 1.0 percent to the current 1.4 percent.

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The current rate on earned income includes wages, salaries and commissions earned in the city.

Voters had rejected a first attempt at passing the levy last year.

Officials had previously said that the additional revenue by this income tax increase would free up general fund monies. That would have led to things like more street repair projects, they claimed.

More revenue could also have benefitted the police and fire dpartments in terms of new equipment purchases. For example, a new fire engine will be needed soon, at an estimated cost of approximately $625,000.