Instead of raising the tax levy in East Dundee, one trustee says the board should consider freezing it at its current level.
Freshman Trustee Allen Skillicorn is opposed to increasing the levy and will present a counter resolution next Monday night that will explain why the village should keep the levy as is.
He argues that in the current economy, the village should think about seeking some sort of relief for taxpayers.
On Monday night, the village board voted to begin the process of raising the tax levy for 2012. As part of that procedure, the board will discuss how high or whether to raise it during a special board meeting Monday.
"It's the middle of the recession," said Skillicorn, who is a member of the Dundee Tea Party. "I don't see a good reason to raise taxes now and I think we have enough money to pay for core services. I don't see this as a good reason to grow government anymore."
Village President Jerald Bartels said he has no problem holding the levy steady and
thought the issue wouldn't be revisited until Monday.
So on Tuesday, he was surprised to hear about Skillicorn circulating a petition against the levy increase and that the new trustee would be discussing the issue on WRMN 1410 AM radio in Elgin.
"As it relates to the crusade he's on, I appreciate what he's trying to accomplish but I'm disappointed in his approach in that he hasn't picked up the phone to talk to me about this," Bartels said. "When it comes down to it, it winds up being symbolism over substance."
Skillicorn declined to respond to Bartels' comments.
According to Interim Village Administrator Robert Skurla, the 2011 tax levy was $546,444. East Dundee usually asks for more than what it's due to make sure it has covered new growth and lowers the figure later, once the equalized assessed valuation and consumer price index are known, Skurla said.
For example, the board is discussing raising the levy by as much as 4 percent, but would likely lower that once it knows the values of the other two variables, Bartels said.
Property taxes also are not essential to day-to-day village business, Skurla said.
They comprise 14 percent of the $3.5 million general fund, so if the village held the rate flat, "I don't know that we would feel that much of a ripple," Skurla said.
Although Bartels is not opposed to freezing the levy, East Dundee, he says, accounts for only a small portion of the tax bill. Depending on what other taxing bodies -- such as Community District 300 and the Rutland-Dundee Fire Protection District -- do with their levies, tax bills still could be higher.
"I think it creates a false sense that something was accomplished," Bartels said of Skillicorn's efforts. "If that's the crusade Allan wants to go on, maybe Allan should have run for the school board."