As Geneva's EAV Continues to Shrink, Will Alderman Hold Line on Levy?
A year ago, the Geneva City Council voted to "freeze" the tax levy. This year, the recommendation is to take the full 3 percent increase as allowed by the tax cap. The School District earlier this week sought 1.5 percent.
There are always a lot of questions regarding a tax levy, but maybe the one that's on the top of Geneva residents' minds is whether the City Council will take a stand this year to keep it flat.
A year ago, in a split vote, aldermen decided to hold the line on the tax levy, which essentially limits the amount the city can collect from property taxes.
The entire process is convoluted and butt-backwards, because local government units have to set the levy amount before they know what the tax assessments are going to be. That means, as a strategy for the taxing entity, it's better to guess high in case the estimates don't come in as expected.
As Tim Moran pointed out earlier in the week, a taxing body can levy a trillion dollars if it wanted to, but tax-cap legislation still would limit the extension to a maximum of 5 percent increase or the consumer price index—whichever is less—over the previous year.
This year, as with most since tax-cap legislation came into effect, the CPI is the maximum. It's 3 percent this time around.
City of Geneva Finance Manager Thomas Dahl says the city’s equalized assessed value is estimated to drop by 2.9 percent, from about from $972 million to to about $944 million. That's not good, because when the tax base shrinks, property taxes go up.
For 2012, Dahl has recommended the city seek the full 3 percent.
At Monday's School Board meeting, board members passed a resolution to seek a 1.5 percent tax levy increase rather than the full 3 percent. The result was estimated to increase the property tax bill of an average $315,000 home by $340.
Following last year's spirited debate at the City Council level, it will be interesting to see what percentage the city will seek. According to an article in the Kane County Chronicle, aldermen are expected to vote on the issue at the Dec. 3 City Council meeting.
It's important to note that the city portion of a typical tax bill is a fraction of the school district portion. In 2010, the School District portion of the "typical" tax bill was 68 percent, while the city's portion was 8 percent. The Geneva Park District portion was 6 percent.
As the city's EAV continues to shrink, all taxing bodies are having to take hard looks at budget expenditures and belt-tightening.
Related Articles, Opinion
- Geneva City Staff Recommends Maximum Tax Levy Increase
- Important School Board Meeting Monday on Tax Levy
- 2012 School Levy: Average Geneva Home Could See $340 Tax Hike
- Council Quick Story: City Holds Line on Tax Levy
- Rick Nagel: Politics, Truth About City Tax Levy
- Geneva City Council Splits 50-50, Postpones Vote on Tax Levy Increase
- Jeff Ward: How Aldermen Applied Political Subtlety to Win a Lower Geneva Tax Levy