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updated: 9/12/2013 12:26 PM

Proposed Rolling Meadows budget includes small tax hike

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Rolling Meadows' proposed 2014 budget includes a small property tax increase to fund pensions, but no hike for the city's general fund.

City staff members this week proposed the $58.3 million budget, which is about $2 million more than this year's spending plan. The proposal for the general fund totals $28.2 million, up about $1 million, or 1.6 percent, from the current year.

Mayor Tom Rooney praised city staff for listening to his lecture last year when the proposed budget assumed new taxes.

"This year there is nothing like that," he said.

The proposal does call for a 1.3 percent hike in the property tax levy to generate an additional $167,366 in revenue as part of a long-term plan to fully fund the city's police and fire pension obligations by 2033.

Rooney noted that a proposed 2 percent increase garbage pickup fees is less than staff had estimated at the time of a referendum last year on whether to hire a private company to handle refuse collection. Residents voted that city employees should continue providing the service.

The city council will discuss and possibly amend the budget proposal over the next few months before voting to approve it.

The general fund increase reflects moving expenses from other funds, according to the budget document, which is available on the Finance Department page of the city's website,

It also shows larger balances in various funds, with the only ones with deficits being two Tax Increment Financing districts.

According to the report, the city's short-term financial challenges include ongoing negotiations with employee unions, infrastructure costs and increasing costs for fuel and health care.

Longer term challenges, the report says, include buildings that need major work or replacement, funding pensions, weak economic growth and threats to monies collected by the state for local governments such as income taxes and motor fuel taxes.

Natural growth in city revenues include those from higher receipts for sales tax, income tax and property transfer fees, the report states.

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