Cary tax levy to rise slightly

CARY – A year after limiting how much it brought in property tax revenue, the village has opted for a slight increase this year in its property tax levy.

The Village Board on Tuesday approved a property tax levy of $2.45 million, which is 2.99 percent higher than last year. The village expects to bring in $71,200 more with the levy. However, $57,600 of the increase will go toward police pension obligations.

Because Cary is a non-home rule municipality, it can extend its levy up to 5 percent from the previous year or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower.

The cap does not apply to new property growth.

Final property tax rates won’t be set until the spring after property value appeals are finalized.

Officials estimate that property values will decrease 12.84 percent in the municipality, according to village documents.

The consumer price index for this year’s levy is set at 3 percent, and officials expect there to be some new property growth in the village.

According to village documents, the maximum extension the municipality can take in is about $84,930.

The municipality had to balance the need of its pension obligations with trying not to hurt people financially, said Village Administrator Chris Clark.

“We were looking at what’s sensible, what’s fair, what our costs are,” Clark said. “Our general corporate revenues are getting more scarce as personnel costs go up. So we’re having to sensibly budget and look at the cost side of our ledger.”

The $57,600 is needed to meet requirements of the state-mandated pension program.

Clark said it is difficult to estimate how much more the average homeowner would pay in property taxes to the village because property values have been so volatile, he said.

However, he said that an owner of a $300,000 house would probably see an increase of $8 to $10 being paid to the village.

Trustees Bruce Kaplan and Jeffery Kraus voted against the levy request for this year.

Kaplan pointed out that the village finished the last fiscal year with a $600,000 surplus.

Last year the village did not extend its levy by the increase in the consumer price index and only captured the new property growth, he added.

“I personally am not in favor of doing anything other than capturing the new growth,” Kaplan said. “It would be my hope we continue to manage our funds responsibly to do something similar in the future.”

He said the levy increase is a function of continued increases in pension and insurance costs.

“As a village we’re going to have to deal with that,” Kaplan said.

Football recognition

Mayor Tom Kierna on Tuesday proclaimed Dec. 10 to Dec. 14 in Cary as Cary-Grove High School Trojan Football Team week.

The Cary-Grove football team lost last month in the Class 6A state football championship against Crete-Monee High School. The loss was Cary-Grove’s only blemish of the season, as it finished the season 13-1.

“Residents of the Village of Cary are extremely proud of the Cary-Grove Trojan Football Team and all that they have accomplished this year both on and off the field,” the proclamation read.

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