BocaJump | Dec. 7, 2011
Key points of the budget proposal the city administration refers to as the balanced approach, Version 2, which is the subject of Wednesday’s Truth in Taxation public hearing before the Elgin City Council on Wednesday night:
Property tax relief
- Elgin’s property tax assessment in 2012 would be cut by $1 million from 2011 figures. That’s an average decrease in Elgin’s portion of the property tax bill of $174.32.*
- Property tax decrease would increase to $10 million by 2014.*
- Electricity tax. City says 70 percent of revenues from tax would come from commercial properties; 30 percent would come from residential users. City estimates average homeowner would see a $33.53 annual increase in electrical costs because of the tax. Implementation in July 2012.**
- Natural gas tax. Average cost per resident of $29.48 a year. City officials estimate 50 percent of Elgin’s natural gas users are commercial and 50 percent are residential. Implementation in July 2012.
- A storm water utility tax in 2014 or 2015 to begin generating revenue for ongoing efforts to separate the city’s combined storm sewer system.
Eliminating structural deficit
- $13.30 monthly fee for trash hauling, or $159.60 a year. City officials estimate the fee will increase 3 percent a year because of negotiated rates.
- $2 monthly fee for homes in leaf rake-out area to cover costs of continued leaf removal.
- 3 percent alcoholic beverage tax estimated to generate $500,000 in 2012 and $1 million a year afterward. Tax would be paid by both residents and nonresidents. Implementation in July 2012. Administration also recommends 56 percent reduction in liquor license fees prior to tax implementation.
- $1.7 million in cuts to personnel.
- $677,000 cut to recreation fund.
- $125,000 cut to Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce funding.
Other parts of plan
- Increasing city’s home-rule sales tax to 1.25 percent from .75 percent to generate an estimated $1.7 million a year specifically for street improvements.
- $2 million annual transfer of riverboat revenues to the general fund would end by 2016.
- $300,000 grant pool to fund nonprofits ($250,000) and arts ($50,000) agencies.
* Due to statutory publication deadlines requirements, the legal notice for the public hearing was printed before the city administration presented its Version 2 budget to the City Council. The first version would have kept the city’s property tax assessment at 2011 levels.
** A proposal being considered in Kane County would place on the ballot a referendum seeking electrical aggregation — allowing communities such as the city of Elgin to seek cheaper suppliers of electricity. If that referendum passes, Elgin Corporation Counsel Bill Cogley told the City Council last week, Kane County estimates communities would see a 20 percent reduction in rates on the electrical supply portion of their electrical bill. Cogley said that would more than offset the cost of Elgin’s proposed utility taxes on both electricity and natural gas, with residents seeing a net savings of $17 a year.