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updated: 4/18/2012 10:43 AM

Schaumburg property tax may drop further

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Thanks to a gradually recovering economy and sales tax revenues, Schaumburg officials expect to be able to reduce their property tax levy a further 1 percent this fall.

But it might have been an even greater reduction were it not for the significantly rising costs of road maintenance and responding to the destructiveness of the emerald ash borer, Village Manager Ken Fritz said.

Schaumburg trustees Tuesday heard both the good news and the bad before recommending approval of the staff's proposed budget for the fiscal year running from May 1, 2012, through April 30, 2013.

The village board will cast its final vote on the financial plan at its meeting next Tuesday.

While the village isn't quite back to the position of financial strength it was in before the recession, Fritz was cautiously optimistic that things have been going in the right direction the past few years.

But the village's recent plan to replace and treat Schaumburg's extensive stock of ash trees threatened by the emerald ash borer is bringing a painful $1.5 million in additional costs to the new budget.

"The big problem is you've got to find the money every year for seven or eight years," Fritz said of the plan.

The budget also estimates a $2 million increase over the $4.4 million usually allocated to road maintenance, due to the fact that many streets are reaching a point requiring extensive work.

While sales taxes have been enjoying a healthy rebound, hotel taxes remain sluggish and the telecommunications tax is declining as households and businesses reduce their phone lines, Fritz said.

But Schaumburg has been trying to do its part to keep costs down, including through a net reduction of four positions last year, he added.

Though both revenues and costs are expected to rise by three percent in 2012, the village still expects to end the fiscal year with revenues exceeding costs by $2.6 million.

And the village is successfully building its reserves back to the policy-recommended level of 40 percent of annual costs, Fritz said.

The village board enacted its first property tax levy in 2009 in response to the recession. Since then, it's been gradually lowering the levy each year, though 1 percent would be the smallest single step so far.

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