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Alderman Changes Gears; Nearly Flat Levy Now Likely

Possible surplus means taxpayers will get a break, alderman says.

One alderman's change of heart will likely lead to a less-than-anticipated tax levy for Elmhurst residents. The City Council Monday approved a report from one member of the Finance, Council Affairs and Administrative Services Committee that calls for no new city taxes for the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

Fourth Ward Alderman Kevin York originally concurred with the majority of the committee's decision last week to recommend a tax levy increase of 4.5 percent, with half used to be used to fund city services for another year and half sitting off to the side to reimburse Elmhurst Memorial should the facility . York Township taxing bodies are being told to levy as if Elmhurst Memorial Hospital is taxed as a for-profit entity.

The $9 million levy York proposed Monday reflects no increase in the levy for the city and a $198,000 levy specifically to refund any money due back to the hospital if its tax-exempt status is reinstated. In addition, the library is asking for a 3 percent increase in its levy. According to York's report, the effect on the owner of a home valued at $370,000 in 2011 is an additional $11.23 per year, which is about a 1 percent increase.

York told the council that he reversed his original decision after consulting with Finance Director Marilyn Gaston, who provided him with information about the city's fiscal health. Based on her calculations, the city is about $840,000 ahead of originally projected revenues, largely due to the receipt of a $460,000 resurfacing grant and a few unfilled staff positions.

“We could probably afford to give taxpayers a break,” York said.

He added that any surplus earnings can be used to build back the city's fund balances or kept in reserve in case of major unforeseen events.

First Ward Alderman Diane Gutenkauf as well, reasoning that if the city does realize a revenue surplus, this money can be used to refund the hospital's tax payment. Her 1st Ward colleague, Paula Pezza, agreed, arguing that it was not correct to say that the city was asking for no new taxes from residents. Gutenkauf's amendment failed on a 7-8 vote, with Mayor Pete DiCianni casting the deciding “no.”

The levy returns to the council in two weeks for final approval.

Doremus Jessup December 06, 2011 at 09:00 PM
How I feel; Taxpayers = Charlie Brown City Council = Lucy Tax Levy = Football.
Cincinnatus December 06, 2011 at 10:45 PM
See Ald. Gutenkauf's cogent explanation of this action here: http://elmhurst.patch.com/articles/letter-taxing-residents-in-anticipation-of-returning-money-to-elmhurst-memorial-hospital-is-unfair
Tea Bagger December 07, 2011 at 12:37 AM
Frank - if by "cogent" you mean I supported, and voted for, raising taxes 5% last year, but now I want to play the anti-tax card in preperation of my run for Mayor, then yeah, that works. Michael - as Alderman Gutenkauf's husband
Jim Court December 07, 2011 at 01:53 PM
Being Mayor of our community requires two components. One is the person who spends a great deal of time representing Elmhurst at events. Very time consuming and requires an outgoing personality with much energy. Similar to George Pradel of Naperville.. The other role is as a symbolic leader who works with what is supposed to be strong and independent Alderman. How do you ask an energetic person who like to get things done to sit back and be passive is beyond me. If I were Mayor I am sure I would be hated by more than a few. I am inpatient with long winded comments and methods of a committee. I believe in deep analysis, followed by decisive action. Watching Hahn street languish would drive me nuts. I could never be in politics. Trying to please everyone would never work for me.

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