Listen to this article

SAVOY — Unless you’ve made a big purchase in the last week, Savoy’s new sales-tax increase may have escaped your attention.

Village President John Brown said Wednesday he hasn’t heard any comments on Savoy’s total sales tax rising from 8 to 9 percent on Jan. 1.

The increase is all in the village’s share of the 9 percent now collected on applicable retail sales, which rose from 0.5 to 1.5 percent.

The rest of the rate goes to the county and the state, with the state’s share at 6.25 percent and the county getting 1.25 percent.

Savoy’s increase means the overall sales tax on merchandise sold in the village is now the same as it is in Champaign, Urbana and Rantoul.

Purchases of vehicles, food and medicine are exempt from the village’s share of the sales tax, Brown said.

Gasoline sales are also exempt, at least from the village’s retail sales tax, though Savoy has a new 5-cents-a-gallon motor-fuel tax that took effect in August.

Jim Higgins, owner of Awesome Machines in Savoy, said it’s not the time of year for outdoor equipment sales. But he projects the increase will be noticed by customers at the Savoy store in the spring.

“I sell expensive items,” he said. “The cheapest thing I have is $500.”

Given that the sales tax in Tuscola (where Awesome Machines also has a location) is 7.75 percent and Savoy’s rate used to be 8 percent, Higgins said he’s lost a competitive advantage in Savoy compared to Champaign-Urbana.

“It’s not a game changer — we just lost an advantage that we had,” he said.

Gary Herzog, owner of Prairieland Feeds in Savoy, said his largest customers who buy in bulk haven’t been in yet this year to notice the higher sales tax. But consumers have already become numb to the price increases on consumables, gas and more in recent months, he said.

“They’re in sticker shock,” he said. “Now you throw this tax on it, and boy, this couldn’t come at a worse time.”

Vehicle sales may be exempt from the village’s share of sales tax, but vehicle parts aren’t, according to Ben Quattrone, managing partner of Serra Champaign, operator of Serra BMW, Serra Buick GMC, Serra Honda and Serra Subaru in Savoy.

Quattrone said Wednesday he thought the sales tax increase would be a bigger deal than it has been so far.

“I haven’t heard much chatter about it,” he said.

Brown looks for the sales-tax increase to give Savoy about an extra $1 million in annual revenue — money he says can help the village cover more of what it needs.

One of those expenses is hiring a full-time fire chief, he said.

Village Administrator Christopher Walton is working on a job description and salary range for a full-time chief, which should be coming to the village board this month, Brown said.

That additional money can also help pay for road improvements, bike paths and storm sewer improvements, he said.

Village Trustee Larry Kanfer, who opposed the sales-tax increase, hasn’t changed his mind, he said Wednesday.

“We just got home rule, and I thought it was a little premature,” he said.

Trending Videos