2 months, 3 weeks ago by Denise Donley
City would collect roughly $5.827 next fiscal year
A public hearing discussing the proposed property tax levy opened Monday night’s Quincy City Council meeting.
The proposed property tax levy increase for the for the fiscal year beginning May 1, 2013 to April 30, 2014 is an icrease of 3% per $100 assessed valuation.
Wih the 3% increase, the city would collect $5.827 million in overall property taxes next fiscal year. That's up from $5.655 million collected this year.
The 3% increase would result in a projected tax rate of $1.02345 per $100 of assessed valuation. Last year, property owners paid 99.359 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.
If the City were to fully fund the levy by putting the amount on property taxes, the rate would be a 6.8% increase rather than 3%.
Mayor Kyle Moore said before that was to happen, the City needed to look at other revenues or cut expenditures.
“Two weeks ago, we put a hiring freeze on non-essential personnel and cut traveling in the City. As an alderman, I proposed using our revenues from the Ameren Franchise Agreement toward the reduction of debt. At that time, we worked out an agreement with the administration to do half towards green energy funds, half towards debt reduction,” said Moore. “Currently, we only have about $80,000 towards the green energy funds dedicated next year, so my idea was to utilize that funding to reduce the burden on peoples’ property tax increase. So 3% is a happy medium.”
Moore said the 3% levy alleviates the burden on taxpayers.
“Essentially, we have to make up $215,000. We’re making our full pension payment, so this isn’t about that, it’s about ‘Do we take if from our levy or do we use it out of general operations?’,” said Moore. “We have this extra revenue that isn’t being utilized for pensions now. We don’t have it earmarked for anything, so let’s try to use that. It’s about $190,000, so we’ll still have to come up with about $20,000-$30,000 from our operations, but it goes a long way in alleviating the burden on property tax owners.”
Jim Perry, Chairman of the Adams County GOP, Quincy resident and business owner, spoke at Monday night’s public hearing, saying he is against any type of increase in taxes.
“I’m here to speak for those who pay enough in taxes. It’s time someone drew a line in the sand,” said Perry. “If you want to know why the population isn’t increasing, it’s because of taxes. When you raise your taxes, you force businesses and people away. I just wanted to make sure we had someone to say we’re not ok with an increase.”
Mark Bigelow, Quincy resident and firefighter, said this deficit didn’t happen overnight.
“You get what you pay for. We got into this problem over decades. It’s not going to be fixed overnight,” said Bigelow. “I’m not in favor necessarily of a tax increase, but if we have problems, we need to take care of them. I don’t like to pay any more than the next person, but when we look at our overall tax bill, the City portion is quite a bargain for what we get.”
If the Council were to not pass a levy, the City would have to cut over $400,000 from next year’s budget or levy for the full 6%.
The Council has to adopt a tax levy by the 30th of December.
Monday night was the first presentation of the proposed property tax increase.
In other business, Council approved an application for the Safe Routes to School grant. The $145,600 grant will provide funding for sidewalk, curb and gutter improvements. The grant is to be used to support the safety of children and encourage them to walk or bike to Adams school. In addition, Council approved an agreement with IDOT to proceed with construction of the Safe Routes to School project on Columbus Rd from Pine Ridge Dr. to Cheshire Blvd.
Also approved by the Council was a low bid of $4,109,107.00 from Brown Electric for equipment repairs at the Wastewater Treatment Plant that was damaged by April 16th flooding. Jeff Conte, Director of Engineering, said the equipment will be elevated about two feet above the 500 year flood level. The City will pay between $250,000-$500,000, which is currently in the budget.
A proposal from Perennial Energy Inc. of West Plains, Mo was tabled for one week to provide the $4,997 gas flare system for municipal landfill #4.
The text “yield sign” at Josephine Dr. and Frese Dr. was approved to be added to the City codebook.
The Council heard the 2nd reading of the following ordinances:
-Addition of a $6 cat tag fee to be issued at the time of vaccination
-Amend city code to classify cigarette butts and cigars with filter tips as “Litter.” The change reflects a recent change to state law. Approval would reduce the fine for the offense.
-Amend the definition of the definition of a peddler
The following 1st readings were heard by the Council:
-delete Landmark designation of 1001-1003 State St. from municipal codebook
-add “3-way stop” at 9th and Spring St. to municipal code
-ordinance levying taxes for the City of Quincy for the fiscal year beginning May 1, 2013 to April 30, 2014
Council also approved ordinances be drafted for the following:
-Zoning change from single-family residential to commercial at 3418 Broadway, the proposed location for a Panda Express
-One-lot subdivision under the “small tracts” provision of the subdivision ordinance
-Special permit to use the current building at 2410 Lind for church services
The September 2013 sales tax of $762,326.88 and September 2013 home rule sales tax of $747,887.98 were received and filed.
Terri Heinecke was appointed to the 911 Governing Board and Steve Marold to the Electrical Commission.
Michael Hinkamper, Quincy resident, concluded the Council meeting by providing suggestions for trash and garbage collections. Hinkamper recommended investing within the City of Quincy and its citizens rather than outsourcing programs regarding the solid waste program. To hear a detailed description of Hinkamper’s plan, watch the City Council meeting with QJTV.