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updated: 9/19/2012 12:14 AM

Draft budget shows bigger tax levy in Rolling Meadows

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A draft 2013 budget for the city of Rolling Meadows calls for a 4.3 percent increase in the tax levy to bring pension funds for police, fire and other employees to an acceptable level by 2033.

Revenues in taxes dependent on the economy, such as sales tax and state-rebated income tax are showing slight upward trends, according to the proposed budget, which is posted on the city's website,

The proposed budget shows $443,000 increase in the city's tax levy for 2013 and $3 million in reserves by the end of the year. Recent years have shown 12 percent increases in the property tax levy for 2012 and 10 percent for 2011.

The council must pass a final budget before the end of the year.

The council started its discussions Tuesday night, but City Manager Barry Krumstok said most initial questions would be answered during private, one-on-one meetings with him.

For example, Mayor Tom Rooney asked why $2.5 million seems to have disappeared from financial projections made in the spring.

Krumstok said examples that were not in the spring figures include increases in pension payments and potential salary increases after negotiations. The city is negotiating contracts with police and firefighter unions, and any raises will affect the final budget.

Besides funding pensions, the city also is trying to build balances as cushions against unexpected issues such as the economy has dealt in recent years. These are important for the city to maintain its A+ credit rating, according to the budget document.

The general fund will increase from $25.8 million to $27.4 million, according to the draft. This is explained by increases in the following: pension contributions, salaries after the union negotiations, health care insurance and fuel. Also, the city is charging the fund for some expenses that previously were accounted elsewhere.

The budget, which also is available for study at the Rolling Meadows Library, points out that the city's share is only 14 percent of a total property tax bill, with major portions going to local school districts.

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