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posted: 10/23/2013 4:45 PM

Mount Prospect residents can expect property tax hike

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Mount Prospect residents can expect a 5 percent increase on the village's share of their property tax bill next year.

Finance Director David Erb presented the village board this week with a balanced budget that avoids a projected $1 million deficit in the general operating fund, which provides money for basic services such as public safety and public works.

The proposed tax levy would increase 5 percent to $17.3 million, up from $16.4 million. The owner of a $350,000 home would pay about $1,017 in village taxes next year, up from $969 this year, Erb said.

To eliminate the projected deficit the village is dipping into risk management fund reserves and slicing major programs. The budget calls for partially funding the village's computer replacement program, eliminating or reducing elements of its sidewalk program and trimming the emerald ash borer reforestation effort and overall tree program.

Both Erb and Assistant Village Manager David Strahl said the village will be taking a hard look at its structural deficit in upcoming strategic planning discussions.

"This isn't anything new," Erb said. "We last took a hard look at this in 2010, when we had staff reductions."

This year's budget calls for no change in staffing levels.

Leaders noted Tuesday that the village's taxes only make up a portion of residents' total property tax bills.

"So many times, when we talk about a 5-percent tax levy increase, we get citizens out there that get excited. They look at their overall total bill," Trustee A. John Korn said. "What the school districts do, what the library does, everybody else, we have no control over that whatsoever."

"I think, all that being said, we need to do what we can to keep our percentage low, as do all the other taxing bodies," Mayor Arlene Juracek added. "So we can't point the fingers at everybody else and say it's not us, it's them."

The budget anticipates total revenues of $101.4 million, a 6.8-percent increase over the 2013 amended budget, with some of that stemming from increases in investment income for pensions and an increase in charges for water, due to a hike in the city of Chicago water rate.

On the expenditure side, expenses of $98.6 million are expected, a 1.3-percent decrease from the 2013 amended budget. Expenses from the operating budget are forecast at $62 million, an increase of 1.8 percent, which includes a 2-percent adjustment for salaries. The capital budget -- $14.6 million -- is down 19.7 percent from the prior year.

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