Routine council meeting to address tax levies

By Gus Bode

The Carbondale City Council will deal with tax levy issues at its regular meeting tonight at the Civic Center.

“That’s not real sexy … but without it the city doesn’t function,” councilwoman Jane Adams said.

The three general business items on the council’s agenda are related to tax levies.


The first ordinance abates the city’s property tax levy to refund general obligation bond debt service. The ordinance would replace tax levy funds with money from the city’s general fund.

Councilman Don Monty said the city pledged to pay for the bonds with property taxes to give investors a sense of security because property taxes are a dependable source of income.

However, the plan from the beginning was to abate the property taxes and cover the expenses with the city’s other income sources, Monty said. Traditionally, the city has not levied property taxes, he said.

The second ordinance would actually approve a property tax levy to pay for the public safety pension funds as well as the city’s library. The two combine for a total of about $1,700,000 in property taxes.

The tax had not been levied for years, but it was instated in 2010.

Monty said it was a result of the economic downturn. Like many personal portfolios, the pension fund portfolios took a heavy hit in the recession, and extra funds were needed to keep them solvent, he said.

Monty said he foresees the property tax being levied into the near future until the economy turns around.


“But right now, anyone who’s got a crystal ball trying to look forward doesn’t see any big improvement in the economy over the next few years,” Monty said.

He said he has not heard any complaints from residents specifically regarding this tax.

The third ordinance establishes a tax levy for the Downtown Special Services Area Number One. The zone covers a swath of the central part of the city along Illinois Avenue.

The levy pays for Carbondale Main Street, Adams said.

She said the vote should be routine, and she doesn’t see any complications in the tax levies.

Adams said many governmental bodies are going through the same process this month, with public hearings concerning tax levies.

Monty said one advantage the city has over agencies such as the school districts or the Park District is that it can levy a variety of taxes, such as sales tax, while school or park districts can only levy property taxes. He said this is why the city has rarely had to levy property taxes in the past.

Adams said while the meeting’s agenda may not arouse much interest from the public, it is still an essential part of governance.

“What we’re dealing with now are the real guts of city government,” she said.