With more than half the year gone, we can look back again at the City of Elgin budget for 2012 and separate the facts from the fiction.
When this year's budget was approved last December the citizens were told that the garbage collection fees would be removed from our property tax bill and placed on the city's water bill. We were told that our individual property taxes would be reduced by the same amount of the fee.
In truth, many citizens on the Cook County side of Elgin have not seen a reduction in their property taxes but instead an increase for this year. The only response I've received from the city for why this happened is that the city reduced the levy on property taxes but due to a reduction in assessed valuation the city raised its rate and many of us got an increase in our overall bill. Needless to say, I'm not satisfied with this answer.
Now many citizens have received their electric bills along with our natural gas bills and see the new municipal tax on energy for every building in the city. We were told through out the budget process that the new tax would be 3 percent on the supply side of the bill. Turns out that it is is actually 5 to 8 percent of our bill, depending on whether you calculate it against the supply side or on the entire bill. What's the explanation? Something about a separate fee added to the tax to cover administration costs. This is bad for the people and businesses in Elgin.
Along with this new tax structure we see the city is reporting about a $7 million surplus in its 2012 projections given to the bond rating agencies. While several council members have been busy patting themselves on the back for their great budget we are paying more taxes and getting fewer services.