The City Council will discuss tax levy proposals and examine how tax money will be delegated for the upcoming year at tonight’s meeting.
According to the meeting’s agenda, the city has been able to abate the city general purpose tax levy by subsidizing the levy amount from other general fund revenue sources from 2002 to 2009. However, City Manager Kevin Baity said the city was only able to abate a portion of the levy for the last two years and has since levied $810,729 for city government purposes, which was applied to public safety pension obligations.
Baity said this is because of pension increases, a problem many Illinois cities face and have no control over.
Because Illinois pension funds increased, police pension contributions will increase by $432,450, according to the agenda.
Fire pension contributions will decrease by $45,028, but with the increase from the police pension, the total city government purposes is estimated to increase by more than 4.98 percent.
According to the Truth in Taxation Act determination, a public hearing must be held and a notice must be printed in a local newspaper when a taxing district has a 5 percent increase in its proposed aggregate tax levy from the previous year. Councilmember Jane Adams said although the proposed tax levy is less than 5 percent, citizens are encouraged to participate in the meeting and express their opinions to the council as well as other community members.
Although tax levies are a normal part of city operations, nobody wants to see taxes raised, she said, and citizens should be told why certain tax increases are being implemented.
“(The meeting) may be controversial,” she said. “I already got an email from somebody saying, ‘Don’t raise my taxes.’”
The city also received a letter from the Carbondale Public Library dated Oct. 10 that requested the city levy $940,556 for its operations in the 2014 fiscal year. This is a 4.99 percent increase from last year’s library levy.
By law, the city is required to adopt the library levy.
Baity said after the meeting, the council will have until the week of Christmas to agree on an ordinance and file it to the proper authorities.
A special December meeting will be held to pass the agreed-upon tax levies before they are filed, he said.
Although not all of the taxes will be fully abated, Baity said Carbondale has significantly lower city taxes than most Illinois towns.