Geneva City Council Splits 50-50, Postpones Vote on Tax Levy Increase
The Geneva City Council splits 5-5 in a vote that would seek a lower tax levy.
A vote to approve the city of Geneva tax levy was delayed Monday night, when the council split up the middle on whether to raise the levy by 2.4 percent or keep it the same as it was a year ago.
Both attempts ended in a stalemate, with Mayor Kevin Burns casting the tie vote.
In the first motion, 1st Ward Alderman Chuck Brown proposed holding the city of Geneva tax levy to the same number it was in 2010—which would result in a tax rate of about 60 cents per $100 assessed value. Five aldermen voted for the amended version: Brown, 1st Ward Alderman Sam Hill, 2nd Ward Alderman Richard Marks, 3rd Ward Alderman Dean Kilburg and 4th Ward Alderman Dorothy Flanagan. Fifth Ward Alderman Ralph Dantino was absent, recovering from his recent cancer treatment.
The second vote, a motion to approve the levy of $6,261,929 as originally presented, also ended in a tie. Voting with Burns were 2nd Ward Alderman Bob Piper, 3rd Ward Alderman Dawn Vogelsberg, 4th Ward Alderman Ron Singer and 5th Ward Alderman Craig Maladra.
Gibula's story in the Trib Local said the tax levy increase recommended by city staff would have cost the owner of a $250,000 house an additional $34.26 per year.
The proposal for a lower levy was a bit of a surprise. At the previous Committee of the Whole meeting, aldermen had recommended approval of the higher tax levy by margin of 6-1. Only Hill cast the dissenting recommendation.
So, now, what happens next?
The city is required by law to pass a tax levy no later than Dec. 27. The next regularly scheduled meeting of the City Council is Dec. 19. Burns advised the council to "get on your horse and find agreement on this, very soon,” according to the Trib Local story.
But if no aldermen are swayed to change their vote, the question would be whether Dantino would be able to attend or cast a vote via telephone. It is impossible to say how Dantino would vote, but he has been a fiscal conservative in other City Council decisions.
Another wild card might have been Piper's Monday-night announcement that he was resigning from the City Council. However, his resignation is not effective until Dec. 31, so he will be present at the Dec. 19 meeting or at a special meeting, if needed.
Piper is resigning because he is no longer living in the 2nd Ward he represents. Piper moved to a residence in the 1st Ward following his May 15 divorce. He had been looking for rental unit in the 2nd Ward, but rental units in that ward are few and far between.