CARBONDALE — The Carbondale City Council voted this week to keep property taxes flat, despite strain caused by reductions in state revenues.
At Tuesday night’s regular meeting, council unanimously approved the 2017 tax levy in the amount of $2,082,242, with $1,035,289 devoted to city purposes and $1,046,953 for public library purposes.
The public library’s tax levy is a $15,004 increase over last year, or about 1.5 percent.
“We have had some revenue enhancements, as the politicians would say — we have had tax increases in the city of Carbondale this past year,” Mayor John “Mike” Henry said during a discussion of the tax levy at the Nov. 7 council meeting.
The city’s 2-percent food and beverage tax helped fund the South Illinois Avenue streetscape project, completed in August.
“We promised you how we were going to use those, and we’re living up to that promise. You saw our $1.7 million downtown revitalization project. I get positive comments on that nearly every single day. … So we, at least I, want to hold the line on property taxes this year,” Henry continued.
A chart showing real estate property tax trends displayed at the Nov. 7 meeting indicated that the city’s property taxes have not increased since 1999, while Carbondale Elementary School District 95 and Carbondale Community High School District 165 have nearly doubled their taxes in that time.
“There are lots of things that enter into what the school districts have to do and have to comply with, so we’re not trying to disparage what’s going on there; we have excellent schools. But we do want to illustrate that there are some taxing bodies in this town that have held the line and even lowered taxes over the years, and we are one of those,” Henry said.
In September, the city passed a budget adjustment in the amount of $553,629 to account for a loss in state revenue for Fiscal Year 2018. The state budget, passed by a legislative override of the governor’s veto in July, includes a 2-percent permanent fee on home rule sales taxes and a one-time 10-percent reduction in municipalities' share of local government distributive fund revenue through income and use tax.
“We made budget adjustments so we wouldn’t have to increase taxes for that, but we are pushing some things down the road, so someday we’re gonna have to do some significant cuts and/or have some additional revenues, but that day is not today, not this year,” Henry said at the Nov. 7 meeting.