Meeting Agenda: County Tax Levy

Update: Our own Kay Shelton spoke at this meeting. Thanks Kay.

What: The County Board’s Finance Committee is holding a public hearing on the tax levy. I’m guessing they are not going to ask for less. Too many raises at stake.

When: Wednesday, November 5, 7 p.m.

Where: 110 E. Sycamore Street, Sycamore. Admin Building, East Conference Room, south entrance.

There will also be a public hearing on the proposed 2009 budget and final budget recommendations.

[h/t KS]

17 thoughts on “Meeting Agenda: County Tax Levy”

  1. If the new police station gets added in to the property taxes and the other taxes do not get passed at the next city meeting, with the future increase for School Referendum Sock-It-To-Us Part I, my property taxes for next year may be around $500 under what I pay for the mortgage for twelve months.

    That is just so wrong on so many levels that the property taxes should approach what I pay for the house itself.

  2. From the Notice:

    Corporate & special purpose property taxes: $15,329,109 up to $18,150,000

    Property taxes for debt service and public building commission leases: $2,289,543 down to $650,000

    Total property taxes: $17,618,652 up to $18,800,000

  3. Chronicle bloggers are reporting that DeKalb Co. just topped out Lake Co. for high taxes.

    The City of DeKalb is not that far under the City of Chicago for sales tax.

    None of us here have the incomes of those places to keep up.

  4. Chronicle bloggers are partially correct. DeKalb property taxes are higher than Lake County based on the percentage of tax to home value. DeKalb taxes are lower than Lake County as the percentage of income. Lake County and DeKalb Counties are lower than Winnebago County for percentage of tax to home value but DeKalb is higher than Winnebago for property taxes compared to percentage of income. See:

    http://www.taxfoundation.org/publications/show/1888.html

  5. Carbon copy just about everything said during the City of DeKalb budget meetings and apply that to the county. There is too much blown on overtime, office furniture, computer equipment, and yes, memberships again.

    One big chunk will be almost a million for forest preserve land acquisition and a new staff position.

    Don’t blame me–I voted No on the referendum. We have some nice ones in the county but with property taxes now the 34th highest in the entire county of every county in the United States, can we afford more?

  6. Kay,

    The forest preserve referendum involved a small amount. The time to purchase open space is prior to growth when land is comparatively cheaper.

    Open space money is more easily leveraged than other funds that is a dollar of our money is often matched by state or even private funds to obtain land.

    Twenty five years ago I did an academic study of the forest preserve’s effort in DuPage to get bonding authority for open space. No referendum was needed; they just had to convince the board to bond. They succeeded. Much of the belt of open space running through the center of the county came about through that purchase and people a generation later benefit. Nowadays such land would be prohibitively expensive to purchase.

    Keep the eagle eye out on the budget, thanks for the effort, but think of the value to future generations on open space.

    herb

  7. Herb, I find your reply to Kay condescending as heck.

    The forest preserve takes a little, the vets fund takes a little. The school district takes a chunk, the city takes a chunk. The cumulative effect has become too much. All these taxing bodies must start acknowledging that they’re not the only game in town. I’m all for green space but then something else better be knocked off the wish list. Stadium “infrastructure,” perhaps.

  8. Yinn,
    I’m just making an argument for open space now, in fact prioritizing it above some other county functions based on my priorities (which of course will differ from others) and the ability to leverage open space funds with state and federal money.

    Sorry if you thought otherwise, I did disagree with Kay on the open space concern, did not disagree with her other issues and was offering an opinion on advantages of open space as a priority.

    In some areas of the country, budget and sprawl control people have used open space purchases as a way of controlling the growth that adds to budgetary expenses.

    An idea (hopefully constructive). I really do think that even the council agrees with those on this blog that cutbacks are needed and to do so priorities need to be set. How about working out a way of systematizing prioriities. I’ve been trying but not very successfully.

    My problem: clearly fire protection is far more important than say side walk repair (IMHO). But if we only had fire protection and no side walk repair that won’t be very good either. I’m stuck on how to figure out how much of a lower priority item should be funded at how much cost of a higher priority item. It’s how to work out trade offs that befuddles me

    Herb

  9. The amount budgeted for the forest preserve land purchase is $908,000 and I certainly do not consider that chump change or a “small amount”:

    http://www.dekalbcounty.org/Financial/FP09.pdf

    Thanks for standing up for me, Yinn, and any time Herb would like to pay $3,300 in property taxes on $22,000 in take-home pay would be fine with me. When I bought the house in 2000, taxes were about half that. When I bought the house, I only had two jobs. Now I have three jobs. Obviously, $22,000 in take-home pay is not enough to live here. Also, I do not do just one job at the primary job. Any time anyone would like to follow me all day long, that would be fine with me. During the day, I do my job and parts of the jobs of someone who retired, someone who left, someone on maternity leave, and someone who cannot be replaced because of a lack of budget money. I teach one in-person class during the day and I teach five courses online as a “part-time” job. I taught four online courses in the summer, which is more like teaching eight classes during a regular semester. I work another eight hours in a pharmacy. At least with teaching online courses that means I can be in my house doing that.

    I went back to school twice, in hopes of qualifying for a promotion for the primary job. So far, nada.

    I more than earned the right to tell anyone that the cost of living here is far outpacing what a lot of us earn. I believe the County employees will be getting 2% in merit, 2% in a raise, and 2% for COLA. Of course, there is the infamous 24% pay increase for one person. I got nothing for one job, a nickle per hour for another, and 2% for my primary job. I already calculated my health insurance premiums and what I will pay for prescription drugs and that 2% pay raise turns into $399 LESS total. Nevermind the extra $471 I paid in 2007’s property taxes in 2008, the increased per year health deductable, the expected extra for the schools starting in 2009, the extra in gas, and the increases in food and everything else.

    Hey! I am one of the lucky ones!! I still have a JOB!!!!

    I am one of the lucky ones!! I got a pay increase that almost but not quite covered the increase in health care costs!!

    Not everyone out here got any of that and until one starts walking in those shoes, just being sympathetic is not enough.

    So yes, when I say that not everyone can afford to blow almost a million dollars for new forest preserve land, I mean it. I hope someone will get to enjoy it.

    I have absolutely, positively no clue how anyone can afford to continue to live here and raise a family.

    When more people start finding out that DeKalb is 34th in the nation for high property taxes and 39th in the nation for property taxes in relation to income, people from the suburbs will not want to move out here anymore, thinking they can escape their higher costs.

    Lots of people I talk to are convinced that many elected leaders around here do not want anyone making under $50,000 per year living here anyway.

    It is so nice to feel unwanted. Not.

    My uncle sells life insurance–I already know I will be worth more when I stop working. ;-)

  10. Folks in the County Board’s Finance Committee were very nice and polite. The meeting lasted under 45 minutes. There will be no $90,000 per year lobbyist. There was discussion about having a hiring freeze but folks did not want to have a hiring freeze for law enforcement positions. I am not sure why someone did not think to having a hiring freeze on everything but law enforcement positions but maybe it is not possible to do a hiring freeze that way??

    There will be a little tiny cost savings which will be applied to the fund for a new jail instead of having $4 per year off the property taxes. They have a more official name than “piggy bank” but that account does collect a tiny bit of interest.

  11. Chronicle article.

    I like what you said about the tax rankings and how everything adds up. More and more I am thinking that re-prioritization has to happen not just within each taxing body, but also collaboratively if we’re to get a handle on this.

  12. This Forest Preserve deal sounds like its a cash cow for those who work there. I heard once that the gentleman in charge of the Forest Preserves doesn’t want anyone to know that these areas are hardly used. If people were actually using them, he’d have to do some work. I really think there needs to be a look into how this group is financed and how those who work in this department, from the bottom and all the way to the top, and see who’s getting paid what for what.

    With the economy the way it is now and the fact that subdivisions can only be started if they are connected to another already running community. Is there really that big of a demand for the DeKalb County Forest Preserves to be buying up land “for the future” if these properties really aren’t in danger of ever being developed?

    If times are that bad right now, is $908,000.00 being spent on the above mentioned parcel necessary right now?????

  13. Has anyone seen all the ADDED STAFF requests in the County Budget? There are a TON! When I confronted PAT VARY prior to her “squeaker” re-election, she told me that these NEW Staff positions are needed, and thus she would most likely support creating MORE STAFF ..
    Tranlation – MORE TAXPAYER PENSIONS we will be funding .

    It’s a shame Pat was re-elected, because now she will forge ahead and will work to pass these NEW STAFF Positions. In addition, Pat will also be working to implement HOLE RULE in DeKalb County = MORE TAXES!
    Pat will also be seeking another Jail Tax for the residents of the County.

    Get ready for (4) more years of PAT VARY digging into the pockets of the taxpayers!

  14. Hey Mark, I asked about a hiring freeze that was mentioned at the meeting. I was told by someone else there is a .3 ‘green’ employee, two full-time law enforcement positions, and two part-time law enforcement positions (only one having benefits).

    I found what looks like a new assistant network technician and someone in the veteran’s area.

    How many new positions did you see?

  15. I am one of two County Board members from district 6. Along with a small group of realists, I have gone on the record opposing the 2009 budget. In an effort to reduce the property tax burden, I appealed a total of 2.6 million dollars worth of new spending. Unfortunately, the finance committee, led by my fellow Democrats rejected ALL OF THE APPEALS. I also suggested a Compensation Committee to deal with the exorbitant salaries/benefits/bonus’ given to county employees, but that idea was also rejected, and led to some rather unpleasant attacks on me by the administration, and resulted in even more spending to accommodate the administration’s vote buying campaign. Why do you think that the only thing that the county’s Economic Development Committee has to show for two years of work is the anti-development Go Green initiative?

    The financial policy of the county is now driven by the concept that tax caps are the cause of high taxes. This idea is almost universally accepted by my fellow democrats. Perhaps they will soon share the “Home Rule Kool Aid.”

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