“Right now, we don't have the money to deal with more than one major issue a year,” he said. “We are reacting when something breaks instead of being proactive.”
Doan's proactive approach would be to consolidate to the Effingham High School and Central Grade School buildings and either renovate Effingham Junior High or build a third structure. He believes that revenue from the sales tax would lead to three well-maintained buildings, which would save the district financial hardship in the future.
The breakdown financially is as follows: taxpayers would see a 1 percent increase in sales taxes on items, such as gas and restaurant food. In return, county residents would receive a tax abatment. The amount abated is gauged on student enrollment and the amount of money a district owes on existing bonds. The projected abatements for area districts on a $150,000 home are: Altamont, $352.30; Dieterich, $279.44; Teutopolis, $230.50; Effingham, $179.58; Beecher City, $166.96.
The countywide sales tax is estimated to raise $5.2 million annually. Because more than half the students in Effingham County attend Unit 40, the district would receive $2.6 million of that amount. Half of the $2.6 million would be used for the next five years to offset property taxes being collected for the construction of Effingham High School. After 2019, Unit 40 plans to use the total amount it receives toward building consolidation.
“We wouldn't be pushing this if there wasn't a reduction in property taxes,” said Doan.
Doan notes an Effingham resident getting $179 abated from their property tax bill would have to spend $17,900 in retail purchases before the additional sales tax impacts their budget, adding 54 percent of the tax would be paid by travelers passing through.
“We are spending our reserves,” said Doan. “We can't wait until they are gone to come up with a plan.”
Doan doesn't agree the revenue from the tax should serve just the city, where many of the retail businesses are located.