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Cary opts to increase tax levy

CARY – The Cary Village Board had a change of heart with its property tax levy.

Instead of freezing the levy, a decision it made two weeks ago, Village Board members Tuesday opted to increase the levy by 2.13 percent to $2.5 million.

The amount represents a $52,000 increase over the amount of property taxes the village took in this year.

On Dec. 4, the board approved a $2.45 million property tax levy, which is the same amount the village collected this year.

Under the state tax cap law, the village can either increase its levy by 5 percent over what it took in this year, or by the 1.7 percent rate of inflation, whichever is less. Village officials expect new property to increase by 0.43 percent, according to village documents.

Two weeks ago, Trustee David Chapman advocated for freezing the levy and finding ways to save money in the budget to avoid taking more money from residents. Chapman was not present at Tuesday’s meeting.

Trustees Jeffery Kraus and Bruce Kaplan voted against the levy increase.

Kraus said even though property values are decreasing, taxing bodies continue to collect more money.

Kaplan said the village has been running surpluses the past two years.

“We have created some surpluses. I don’t think we’re justified in increasing the tax levy this year,” Kaplan said.

Increasing the levy by $52,000 would allow the village to help cover costs of the village’s state-mandated police pension, village officials said.

Trustees Rick Dudek, Karen Lukasik and Robert Bragg and Village President Mark Kownick voted to increase the levy.

“We have services we have to provide to residents in town,” Dudek said. “Snow plowing, lights … we have [a certain] amount of dollars available to us to be able to do that.”

Also Tuesday, the Village Board approved an economic development plan and economic development incentive policy. The plan has goals such as retaining, expanding and attracting commercial and industrial businesses, and increasing municipal revenue sources. Re-establishing a revolving loan fund program also was added as a goal of the economic plan.

Five sites in the village are listed in the plan that can provide immediate impact on the local economy: the Selcke property on Jandus Cutoff and Route 14; Jack’s Channel; the Damisch Farm property on Route 31; property along Three Oaks Road; and the former Maplewood School property.

Among the guidelines in place for incentives include providing a demonstrable return to the village, being part of a project consistent with the vision for the community and being necessary for the project to go forward. Incentives would be based on project costs.

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