RINGWOOD – In a narrow 4-3 vote, the Ringwood Village Board approved a $1,000 bump in its levy for the second year in a row.
The increase translates to the owner of a home valued at $200,000 with a general homestead tax exemption paying less than $2 extra in property taxes to the village.
The village needs to start investing in equipment like tractors and plows to make itself self-sufficient, and it doesn’t have the sales tax that other municipalities bring in, said Trustee Gary Reinwall, who voted in favor of the levy increase.
“We are limited in what we can do for the people that live in the village,” he said. “We contract out to plow our streets. We have to rent a tractor to mow our parks.”
The increase is such a small amount that Reinwall thinks residents will understand. Plus, he added, the village has the lowest tax rate of any McHenry County municipality excluding Greenwood and Trout Valley, which don’t have levies.
Any increase is too much, though, for Village President Rick Mack. He also opposed the $1,000 increase that brought the total property tax levy to $77,500 last year.
“I felt like we could have afforded to hold off on an increase because property values have not shown an increase,” he said, adding that the village continues to fund as many projects as possible through development and annexation fees and grants.
Mack hopes the village will be able to diversify its revenue streams by developing the Route 31 corridor.
The Village Board is considering hiring a consultant to help it develop a sub-area plan for the downtown area.