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updated: 12/8/2011 6:23 PM

Batavia might increase taxes to pay for ambulance costs

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Batavia taxpayers will foot a total tax bill in 2012 that could be up to 7.3 percent higher than in 2011.

The city has proposed collecting $459,262 more -- and $6.7 million total -- according to the levy presented at a public hearing this week.

Most of that increase -- $435,000 of it -- was added to pay for ambulance service. That's the city's portion of the bill to participate in the Tri-City Ambulance Service cooperative, and that bill will increase at least $115,000 in 2012. Users will still be expected to pay fees of $600 to $800 for each run, depending on the complexity of their case; nonresidents pay $100 more. Until now, those fees covered about 47 percent of the cost of ambulance service, according to a city memo. The Tri-City Ambulance Service's board is contemplating revising the formula for funding, and Batavia expects to bear more of the burden if those revisions go through. Tri-City's next fiscal year starts May 1, 2012.

The city council will vote on the levy Dec. 19, and must file its levy with the Kane County clerk by Dec. 27. The actual amount extended could be lower than the city's request, because the equalized assessed valuation of property is not set until spring. The clerk then uses that to determine the tax extension, including applying the state-mandated property tax cap on parts of it.

Property owners will see the levy on their tax bills next spring.

The council approved the city's budget Monday for the fiscal year beginning Jan. 1.

Property taxes account for about 27 percent of the revenues that pay for police, fire, public works, administration and the like. The levy also includes money to pay back money borrowed, and payments to pension funds.

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