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posted: 11/23/2011 5:30 AM

Carpentersville sets preliminary levy $500k short

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Carpentersville trustees set a preliminary property tax levy amount that, with expected abatements, would fall roughly $500,000 short of what the village originally hoped to collect from a proposed levy in 2012.

And if the trustees vote Dec. 20 the same way they did Tuesday, the village will have tough decisions to make when it's time to balance the budget.

Officials initially proposed a tax levy without abatements that at more than $13.5 million was 24 percent higher than the one the board set for 2011. The money would be used to fund general operations, police and fire department pensions and debt service.

But after abatements, the village expected the actual amount, in a worst-case scenario, to only be 4.31 percent higher than the previous amount, and that figure was expected to drop, Village Manager J. Mark Rooney said. So someone who owns a $200,000 house in the village would pay an extra $46.66 in 2012.

During the meeting, Village President Ed Ritter and Kay Teeter promised to make all scheduled abatements to lessen the burden on taxpayers.

"I stand by my commitment to abate fully," Ritter said.

But that wasn't enough for Trustee Paul Humpfer, who led the discussion against the proposed levy, said he was looking out for the taxpayers and floated his own dollar amount that ultimately passed.

Two years ago, the board, suffering a deficit in the water and sewer fund, decided not to abate the levy so it could get that fund back on track, Ritter said. He added that that proposal came as no surprise to anyone and that the village cut staff and in other areas to compensate.

But Humpfer said he's fearful Ritter would renege on his word to abate. leaving taxpayers holding the bag for the entire $13.5 million.

"I don't trust you," Humpfer told Ritter during the heated discussion that lasted nearly an hour. "I don't trust you to do that."

Humpfer suggested a levy of $10,895,647, a .03 percent increase over the one set for 2011. Trustees Doug Marks and Pat Schultz who usually support Humpfer, backed him once again. In a surprise move, trustees Don Burroway and Brad McFeggan did as well. Teeter was the only "no" vote.

The matter now moves to another meeting on Dec. 20, after which trustees are expected to make final adjustments to Humpfer's figure. A public hearing precedes the meeting at 6:30 p.m.

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