Veering from most government agencies, Avon Township officials have approved reduced tax levies for property owners for next year.
Township board trustees Chris Ditton, Marc Feldstein and Randy Evangelides, along with Supervisor Sam Yingling, voted unanimously Monday in favor of what's projected to be roughly an overall 7.2 percent tax levy reduction. Trustee William McNeill was absent.
Yingling said he hopes the township's move serves as an example for other local governments.
"Governments don't have to max out their tax levies year after year after year," Yingling said Tuesday.
Under the tentative levy, there would be a 3.7 percent reduction or $880,000 less for the Town of Avon fund. That money is used for general administration, such as the supervisor and assessor offices.
Avon also intends to reduce its road and bridge fund levy by 41 percent, resulting in $137,375 fewer tax dollars. The tax levy for the special road improvement/permanent hard road fund would drop by 1.7 percent or $860,511.
Yingling said greater efficiencies in how Avon Township operates allows for the tax levy cuts. He said Avon's action goes against a statewide township trade association that suggests seeking all potential tax revenue.
"The state keeps talking about tax increases and service reductions," Yingling said. "But it's time to discuss how to make government more efficient, eliminating waste and duplication."
Avon Township will collect about $2 million in taxes for the fiscal year that ends in February. Yingling said the planned tax levy is at $1.87 million for the next budget year that begins in March.
Tax levies were a sore spot for many in a crowd of about 70 at a Grayslake Elementary District 46 meeting last week. Some who spoke to the school board said it's becoming difficult for them to pay more in taxes each year.
District 46 officials said the new tax levy limited to a 2.7 percent maximum jump on existing property owners because of the state's tax cap could result in an owner of a $200,000 market value home paying an extra $292 next year.
Joseph Calomino, state director of the conservative-leaning Americans for Prosperity advocacy group's Illinois chapter, was among the critics of District 46's tax levy hike last week. He praised Avon Township's levy reduction Tuesday.
Yingling said township has yet to compute the projected tax decrease for an owner of a $200,000 market value home.
Avon Township encompasses all or part of Grayslake, Hainesville, Round Lake, Round Lake Beach, Round Lake Park, Round Lake Heights, Third Lake and unincorporated Lake County.
Yingling, elected in 2009, said his goal is to cut the overall tax levy by 8.7 percent before his four-year term ends. He said the total after the first two levy cycles during his administration stands at about 7.9 percent.