City Council approves tax levies, abatement

By Gus Bode

The Carbondale City Council approved multiple tax levies Tuesday at its regular meeting at the Carbondale Civic Center.

Two of the three ordinances levied taxes and one abated them. All three passed unanimously.

The first ordinance abated the city’s property tax levy to refund general obligation bond debt service. Since 2002 the city has chosen to abate its property tax revenues as its source for debt service to the general obligation bonds, thereby eliminating almost all of its property tax levy.

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The second ordinance approved 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.

In the past this tax had been abated, but for the last two years it has been levied to cover increased commitments to the public safety pension fund, which declined in value during the recession, councilman Don Monty said.

The third ordinance adopted 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. Its revenues provide partial funding for Carbondale Main Street.

Mayor Joel Fritzler said it provides $40,000 to the organization, as it has for the last 15 years.

Councilman Lance Jack said the area could hopefully be expanded, as it would lower the tax rate for the landowners living there.

“It tends to make it a little bit cheaper for property to be put under the umbrella,” he said.

The area was last approved for extension and expansion in 2006 for another five years and will expire in December 2012. Acting City Manager Kevin Baity said an ordinance to extend the area for another five years would be brought to the Council in the spring.

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