City Property Tax Hearing December 14

Picking up the city’s slack in posting legal notices online:

NOTICE OF PROPOSED PROPERTY TAX INCREASE FOR THE CITY OF DEKALB, ILLINOIS

I. A public hearing to approve a proposed property tax levy increase for the City of DeKalb, Illinois for 2009 will be held on Monday, December 14, 2009, at 7:00 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, DeKalb Municipal Building, 200 South Fourth Street, DeKalb, Illinois.

Any person desiring to appear at the public hearing and present testimony to the taxing district may contact Steve Kapitan, City Clerk, Municipal Building, 200 South Fourth Street, DeKalb, Illinois at 815/748-2096.

II. The corporate and special purpose property taxes extended or abated for 2008 were $5,508,722.

The proposed corporate and special purpose property taxes to be levied for 2009 are $8,067,697. This represents a 46.45% increase over the previous year.

III. The property taxes extended for debt service and public building commission leases for 2008 were $0.

The estimated property taxes to be levied for debt service and public building commission leases for 2009 are $0. This represents a 0.00 percentage increase over the previous year.

IV. The total property taxes extended or abated for 2008 were $5,508,772.

The estimated total property taxes to be levied for 2009 are $8,067,697. This repsresents a 46.45% increase over the previous year.

5 thoughts on “City Property Tax Hearing December 14”

  1. Here is my letter to the editor on the proposed Property tax increase (Published 12/10/09 in the Daily Chronicle) along with Mr Biernacki’s response, and my response to his E-mail of 12/10/09. Obviously he did not like me quoting the figures presented in the legal notice paid for by the city.

    MY LETTER:

    To the Editor:

    Get ready. Just when you think you are about to get a break, it looks like the Grinch once again will steal Christmas this year. The Grinch, in this case, is DeKalb Mayor Kris Povlsen and his tax-and-spend city council.

    If you are like many homeowners, you may have received a notice from the assessor showing a substantial reduction in your EAV. From a property tax perspective, you’re probably thinking you might finally get a break on your taxes. Wrong. At the Nov. 23 DeKalb City Council meeting, initial debate took place to discuss the property tax levy for the 2009 tax year. According to a legal notice published by the city of DeKalb, officials are proposing to increase the property taxes to be levied by 46.45 percent. Mayor Povlsen indicated he was looking for constructive input from the community on the subject.

    Since you asked, here is my two cents. Get spending under control, before you raise my taxes, again. Mayor Povlsen constantly insists that the city is operating as lean as it can. This is pure nonsense. Here are my suggestions for further cost reductions and potential taxpayer savings:

    • Issue a moratorium on all land acquisition and start selling off land owned by the city, as also was suggested by 4th Ward Alderman Brendon Gallagher. These properties could be purchased by private businesses, and the land would go back on the tax rolls. A win-win.

    • Get rid of city employee magazine subscriptions, lunch allowances, uniforms for people in positions that are not public safety related, and other unnecessary extras.

    • Slash car allowances for the city manager and all city administrators.

    • Immediately eliminate the post-employment health care plan in its entirety, as was recommended by the taxpayer-funded consultant report.

    • No more taxpayer-funded cell phones for city employees, with the exception of emergency personnel. These costs are out of control.

    • Discontinue taxpayer-funded health care for the mayor and aldermen. These are part-time jobs.

    Mayor Povlsen and several council members already have made their intention known that they want to raise your taxes, but I still would like to encourage all homeowners to speak at the city of DeKalb property-tax hearing Monday at 7 p.m. in the city council chambers in the DeKalb Municipal Building. Speak up and be heard, and let’s stop the city hall Grinch.

    Mark Charvat

    DeKalb

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    City Manager Mark Biernacki’s E-mail response received 12/10/09:

    Mr. Charvat:

    I was directed to your letter in the Chronicle where you assert the City is proposing to raise its portion of the property taxes by 46.45%. Please know that the legal ad in the paper was purposefully written to let the public know of the high end of the range of options available to the Council should they wish to raise property taxes. I am told that other local governments sometimes take this approach for Truth in Taxation purposes as well.

    However, you have been either present at or I’m sure, have watched on TV, the City Council meetings at which the Council has never indicated any desire or willingness to consider anything near that high end in the range. As you know, the Council is instead considering raising the City’s portion of the property tax from $0.60/$100 EAV to $0.625/$100EAV, or a 4.16% increase. These revenues will only cover the City’s obligated pension costs.

    Property taxes, levies, and government finances can be a very complicated matter. Because of this, it is important that citizens first call City Hall to fully understand these and other matters before making statements that they mistakenly believe to be factual. A citizen’s right to criticize City government is not being challenged. However, when they do so without all of the facts and background, resulting in alarming and hyperbolic claims and statements, they risk being irresponsible and reckless.

    In the instance of your most recent letter, I trust you’ll consider writing a clarification or correction.

    Mark Biernacki

    City Manager

    ————————————————————-
    My Response to Mr Biernacki’s E-mail (12/10/09):

    Mr Biernacki-

    Thanks for taking notice of my letter. Is quite a delight to see that city officials are beginning to take notice of citizen input.

    I am very much aware of the various proposals in front of the city council on the property tax levy. The 46.45% figure comes directly from a legal notice paid for and published by the City of DeKalb. The exact text was:

    “The estimated total property taxes to be levied for 2009 are $8,067,697. This repsresents (sic) a 46.45% increase over the previous year.” (Spelling error included)

    I could not find any information about the proposed tax levy the NEW City Of DeKalb website. I would be interested in an explanation as to why this information is no longer available at http://www.cityofdekalb.com.

    To your points:

    Yes, I was present for the ‘initial’ council discussion on the levy. But, as you also are aware, nothing will be finalized until Monday night’s meeting. As City Manager, you should be keenly aware that the council can still amend the rates as it chooses (.625, .65, .75, etc), so there is always the possibility that they could choose a higher rate than the .625 rate. I felt the figure I had chose to include in my letter was the appropriate since it came directly from the legal notice you chose to publish.

    As you are aware the newspaper puts a limit on all letters to the editor at 400 words. I would have loved to discuss all the levy options proposed in the back-up material, but am I was limited to 400 words. I would have also like to pointed out that the city of Sycamore (one of our comparison cities) is REDUCING it’s EAV levy from .58 to .57, but again, I would have exceeded the 400 word limit.

    You should be aware that the purpose of the property tax hearing is to hear from the citizens of our community. Mayor Povlsen asked for citizen involvement and one of the purposes of my letter is to encourage the public to get involved in the process. It is with great hope that citizens do get involved and show up on Monday night

    You, as a citizen, are certainly welcome to submit a rebuttal to my comments to the newspaper. You also can use your press conference, if you so choose.

    Thank you for taking the time to acknowledge my letter and I hope you and the city council choose to examine the spending cuts I suggested and do what is best for the taxpayers of DeKalb.

    Mark Charvat

  2. City:

    The proposed corporate and special purpose property taxes to be levied for 2009 are $8,067,697. This represents a 46.45% increase over the previous year.

    Charvat:

    According to a legal notice published by the city of DeKalb, officials are proposing to increase the property taxes to be levied by 46.45 percent.

    How you’ve paraphrased the legal notice seems fair to me. It’s not their job to vet letters to the editor nor is it up to you to explain that they didn’t mean what they said. Mr. Biernacki should rebut with his own letter. It’d be good for the community dialogue.

    p.s. I typed the notice while reading it from the paper and must have inadvertently fixed the spelling error.

  3. I finally got an answer to several questions related to the property tax LEVY and hearing. Thanks to Rudy Espiritu for the prompt response to my questions (if only his boss would do likewise…)

    ————————————————
    Mark: At Monday night’s council meeting (12/14/09) the property tax levy was raised by .05 per $100.00 EAV for the City of DeKalb. Since you are the number’s man, I would like to find out (an estimate, if you will) How much money, from the increase, will be captured by TIF? I need to know an approximate figure.

    Rudy Espiritu: I do not have the TIF EAV for tax year 2009, but using the EAV from tax year 2008, approximately $53,451 would be captured in TIF through the $0.05 rate increase.

    Mark: Two more things (1) Can you point out to me where, on the City of DeKalb website, the notice for the property tax levy hearing is/ was located? I could not locate it anywhere.

    Rudy Espiritu: The property tax notice was not put on the website because the Truth in Taxation Act requires the notice to be published in a newspaper of general circulation within the municipality.

    Mark: (2) The name of the individual who is responsible for the upkeep of the City Meeting calendar posted on the City Of DeKalb website. The Calendar is Absent of All listings for Planning commission meetings, and Citizen’s Community enhancement committee and more. The Calendar is quite selective.

    Rudy Espiritu: I will have to check into this specifically, but we post every public meeting on that calendar as soon as we know of the meeting. The agendas and meeting notices are posted here at City Hall as well.

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    Now what can we spend that extra $52K on…Hmmmm…How ’bout a Public Sauna located downtown, next to the skating rink?

  4. What the law requires has not kept pace with technology. The city does not (yet) have to post legal notices on the website. However, posting legal notices there would be one of the dozens of things it could do to raise the level of its customer service.

    The calendar is another example. It’s full enough to fool people into thinking all the meetings are posted there, but as you point out, it’s quite incomplete.

    But until they shift some of the IT resources into IS (preferably under the Clerk’s office) it’s going to continue to be a selective &/or sloppy operation.

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