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Pingree Grove OKs increased tax levy but expects it to drop

Updated: December 10, 2012 6:21AM

PINGREE GROVE — Trustees have moved ahead with a proposed a 2012 property tax levy of nearly $603,000 but expect to have that amount reduced.

Village Administrator Ken Lopez pointed out that the proposed increase is not a tax hike on residents. Rather, the 150 percent increase over last year’s actual extension of $241,000 is intended to help the village capture tax revenue from any new homes or buildings built in the past year, and any increase in assessments on that real estate.

Tax levies are merely requests for property tax dollars. Most local governments request more in property taxes than they realistically expect to receive so they can take advantage of any unanticipated increase.

The county clerk’s office divides the total assessed valuation of property within a government unit’s jurisdiction by the levy to arrive at the overall property tax rate.

“Ultimately, the county will reduce this amount as appropriate,” Lopez said. “We just want to collect all of the assessed valuation that comes due on an annual basis.”

Village Attorney Dean Frieders explained that any actual tax increase is limited to new growth in the village and to the consumer price index.

“Since the consumer price index is flat, most residents are actually likely to experience a possible reduction in the amount they pay for the village portion of the tax bill,” Frieders said.

Trustees proposed an 11.23 percent reduction in the proposed tax levy rate for residents in Special Service Areas No. 4 and No. 9 in the Cambridge Lakes development. If approved, the new rate would be $199.50 per unit, which pays for public works operations, maintenance and repairs in those neighborhoods.

The village has reduced the SSA levy each of the past three years. Village President Greg Marston reiterated that the goal is to reduce the fund balances in the SSA accounts and eventually eliminate them, transferring all costs to the general fund.

A public hearing and final vote on the levy will be held at the board’s meeting on Dec. 3.

In other business, the board voted unanimously to have the village clerk position appointed rather than an elected.

Marston appointed current Clerk Michelle Figuerola in August to fill the vacancy left when Joanna Wester resigned. According to the new ordinance, Figuerola will continue to serve until that two-year term is finished, in April 2013.

The village president will then be able to appoint a clerk, with the advice and consent of trustees. The term will not exceed the greater of four years, or the remainder of the president’s term of office.

The clerk will continue to receive $50 per meeting. The village board can set additional compensation from time to time and hire that person for other work, such as administrative duties at village hall.

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