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updated: 10/23/2012 11:57 PM

Schaumburg continues annual lowering of tax levy

Schaumburg official says revenues better than expected

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Schaumburg's first municipal property tax levy came as a painful shock to residents in the recession-hit fall of 2009.

But for the third consecutive year since then, village officials have managed to make each levy lower than the one before -- an otherwise unheard of feat in the Northwest suburbs.

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Trustees on Tuesday set the tentative 2012 levy amount at $21.1 million, largely as anticipated by last spring's budget.

The village's first property tax levy was for $23.7 million, the second for $22.7 million, and the third and most recent for $21.3 million.

Village Manager Ken Fritz said the lower levies have been made possible through the gradual improvement of revenues like sales taxes and food and beverage taxes that had helped Schaumburg avoid a property tax for half a century, as well as decreasing personnel costs.

"Revenues have been better than expected. That's really the difference," Fritz said.

While sales taxes and food and beverage taxes have improved this year more than was anticipated during last April's budget hearings, hotel room taxes have improved at just about the level that was expected then.

One tax that hasn't been snapping back to normal since the recession -- and isn't expected to -- is the telecommunications tax, Fritz said. Through a combination of consolidation and competition, people just aren't paying as much in their telecommunications bills as they were before.

The telecommunications tax provides a relatively small amount of the village's revenues, however -- about $1.4 million per year now.

The other big contributing factor to the lowering property tax levy is the village's diminishing labor costs, Fritz said. The number of staffers has gone down over the years through attrition and a consolidation.

The village is now operating with significantly fewer employees than in 1991 while more efficiently providing more services to a larger population, Fritz said. Just since 2003, the number of village employees has shrunk from 625 to 500.

A first reading of the tentative levy is set for Nov. 13.

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