Sycamore City Council moving ahead with tax levy option

November 20, 2018

SYCAMORE – Sycamore City Council members expressed interest in moving ahead with one property tax levy option that would maintain the levy for the city’s general operations.

The council gave that direction during its meeting Monday after members evaluated each of the five options in moving forward for the city’s 2018 tax levy: maintaining the tax rate of 0.70815, not increasing the levy, maintaining the property tax levy for the general operations, maintaining the levy and applying it to new construction or increasing the levy using a 2.1 percent inflation factor.

City Manager Brian Gregory walked through each option’s effect on city finances and individual property owners. The residential effects ranged from a $21.81 increase for someone who owns a house valued at $200,000 to saving that same person $7.22.

“We want to create the right balance and be mindful of the fact that our residents and our businesses are paying those property taxes and try to create that balance with our obligations,” Gregory said.

Gregory said his recommendation out of the five options will be to maintain the property tax levy for the city’s general operations, which would result in a $6.46 increase for that same homeowner, or increase the levy using a 2.1 percent inflation factor, which would result in a $9.93 increase for the homeowner but would give the city an extra $22,201 for general operations. He said both of those options or a combination of the two reflects the city’s financial priorities, which are to meet pension obligations for city employees and to keep dollars for the city’s general operation funds at the same level.

All of the aldermen expressed approval of the former option. No one was absent during the Monday meeting.

Gregory said the city is estimating the consumer price index will be 2.1 percent with an increase in the equalized assessed valuation of 6.25 percent from last year’s EAV, which includes about $6.8 million in new construction. Although the city’s tax rate would be decreasing for either option, he said, the tax bill still is increasing because all property values are increasing.

“And you don’t have to have your property reassessed in order for the value to go up,” Gregory said.

Gregory said a public hearing and first reading for the city and library levies will be held during the council’s meeting at 7 p.m. Dec. 3 at the Sycamore Center, 308 W. State St.

The council also voted, 8-0, to approve zoning for the first phase of a proposed luxury townhome development for adults ages 55 and older. The city’s Planning and Zoning Commission recommended allowing developer Brian Grainger of Old Mill Park LLC to build 12 four-unit buildings on the southeast corner of Mount Hunger Road and North Main Street as part of the living community project a week ago.

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