In the end, adoption of the 2012 tax levy and the ordinances authorizing it for the coming year likely will amount to little more than a unanimous roll call vote by the St. Charles City Council on a larger array of measures and routine business.
The City Council Government Operations Committee recommended council approval of nine ordinances related to the city’s levy for the coming year. Because the vote on each of those ordinances was unanimous, the package advances to the City Council’s Omnibus Vote during it’s Dec. 17 meeting. Omnibus Vote items generally are considered routine and not controversial, and the City Council general enacts or approves all such items as a package during one council vote.
Council Omnibus Votes typically come early in the meeting and usually are unanimous, although individual items sometimes are pulled from the Omnibus Vote for separate consideration, as happened twice on unrelated matters Monday.
St. Charles Finance Director Chris Minick repeated the highlights of his tax levy message to the City Council, which in effect is:
- The overall total levy is $22,744,252.
- For the fourth year in a row, there will be no change in the city’s operating levy at $12,055,000. However, because the city’s equalized assessed valuation dropped 5.2 percent this year, the tax rate on property will increase. Even so, Minick said that the average homeowner will see no change in the amount he/she pays on the city’s portion of the property tax bill.
- The city intends once again to abate its $10 million debt service levy — that means the council will enact separate ordinances, probably in January, stipulating that the debt service levy not be collected. Minick said the city has been doing this for some time, keeping the property tax levy lower and instead paying the debt service through revenues from the general fund.
The Government Operations Committee also recommended formal City Council approval of the tax levies for eight special service areas. The levies for these areas only apply to property owners within those areas and are used to provide specific kinds of service that benefit those areas.
For example, Special Service Area 1A has a proposed levy of $87,000 for maintenance of parking facilities in the Central Business District. Special Service Area 1B would collect $280,000 for downtown revitalization efforts. Other special service areas collect revenue to cover costs associated with detention of water and erosion control, maintenance of private streets and for the city’s Legacy Business Center-Electric Distribution Facility.
The City Council's next formal meeting is Dec. 17, when it is expected to adopt the tax levy ordinances.
In another matter Monday night, during it’s formal meeting ahead of the committee meeting, the City Council did pull two items off its Omnibus Vote agenda for separate consideration.
Mayor Donald DeWitte recused himself from participation in the discussion or consideration of a proposal to authorize Minick to execute a risk insurance program renewal for the year beginning Dec. 1, 2012. The city’s consultant on the issue is DeWitte’s employer Wine Sergi. As DeWitte temporarily handed off the gavel, and the council voted 10-0 to approve the matter.
The second item pulled from the Omnibus Vote was the minutes of a meeting last month in which a correction needed to be made. The amended minutes received a 10-0 approval vote as well.
- Nov. 20, 2012: None Rise to Contest St. Charles Tax Levy
- Nov. 20, 2012: Mayoral Candidate Critical of Tax Levy as an Increase