The city of Elmhurst will likely ask taxpayers to pay more for services next year.
The Finance, Council Affairs and Administrative Services Committee on Monday took a first look at the city's annual request for property taxes. The preliminary report, which the committee referred to as a “guidepost,” calls for a 4.95 percent increase in the the tax levy over last year.
Finance Director Marilyn Gaston told the committee that the city's property values have dropped about 10 percent in the York Township portion of the city and 12 percent in the Addison Township areas. Homeowners' equalized assessed valuation started to show a decline in 2009, and this trend should continue for at least two more years, Gaston said.
Gaston also reported sales tax revenues are coming in as projected, but those projections are based on revenues from last year, which was hardly a banner year for spending in city stores and restaurants.
Fourth Ward Alderman Kevin York said he would like to see a lower tax levy increase, in the 1 to 3 percent range, but an increase is needed. The city's levy increased by 4.9 percent .
“It's dangerous to not have any increase in the tax levy,” he said.
The city's costs, including police and fire contracts, increased by about $3 million from 2008 to 2010, York said. It is important to build up fund balances, said York, agreeing with Gaston that the city will not be able to do this if revenues and expenditures remain the same.
Along with the levy, the committee wants to keep more long-term budget improvements on the table.
“We've changed the way we've done business, but there are still some structural changes in the budget process we can look at,” York said, referencing ideas raised by the Finance Task Force.