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EDITORIAL: Pot tax, Peru streets and PADS

The intersection of Plain and Seventh streets in Peru is still a little bumpy. Motorists have had to drive over the torn up road for several weeks due to Peru's ongoing sewer separation project.
The intersection of Plain and Seventh streets in Peru is still a little bumpy. Motorists have had to drive over the torn up road for several weeks due to Peru's ongoing sewer separation project.

Three things to watch for as we start the work week in the Illinois Valley:

1. The La Salle City Council tonight may approve a retailers occupational tax for any business that sells recreational cannabis.

What: A tax, which is passed on to the customer, helps Springfield keep an eye on regulated businesses. In this case, La Salle can impose up to 3% on top of the sales tax (7.5%) customers already pay

Why: If a city wants to regulate the sale of cannabis, which is legal on Jan. 1, 2020, the time to act is now.

Why it’s important to you: This tax will be passed on to consumers — on top of La Salle levying 7% in state’s sales tax. But this ensures that Springfield will monitor the cannabis industry.

2. An extremely rough intersection at Seventh and Plain streets in Peru has been primed for resurfacing but so far, that hasn’t happened.

What: A major sewer and street project got going in the spring and appeared to be mostly complete in mid-August, but it is not.

Where: About eight to 10 blocks around the splash pad and east of Washington Park, including Rock and Plain streets and a Seventh Street intersection. This area is dense with children and families.

Why: Each year, the city has been replacing old combined sewers with sanitary and storm sewers.

Why it’s important to you: Neighbors faced a summer of disrupted access, especially around the busy, Washington Park/library area. And anybody who drives across town on the usually-busy thoroughfare, Seventh Street, has had jarring reminders that the project’s not done.

How long is too long to wait for the resurfacing to be complete? It’s understandable for motorists to become impatient after sewer work was completed quickly — but not the paving.

City engineer Eric Carls says the paving crew was set to arrive early this week. He said the contractor’s underground crew got its work done quickly and well ahead of schedule, but the paving unit was busy on several jobs. The contractor last week was replacing gravel used to temporarily fill in sewer trenches in the streets.

3. A month behind schedule. That’s where the expansion project stands for Illinois Valley Public Action to Deliver Shelter. PADS has been helping the homeless in Peru for more than 20 years.

What: This 5,880-square-foot expansion will roughly double its beds and washrooms plus add a proportional amount of classroom space.

Why: PADS has a growing number of women and children. While most of the clients are men, last year there were 35 families with 70 children, prompting PADS to install four family rooms plus separate men’s and women’s quarters. Further, volunteers last year served more than 35,000 meals and distributed 3,140 articles of clothing and 3,278 household items.

Why it’s important to you: We need to be a community that cares for its own. In doing so, we are able to get more people back on their feet as contributing members of society. Any donation — big or small — will help PADS to sustain its efforts.

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