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updated: 6/18/2014 4:27 PM

Sleepy Hollow may ask voters for 77 percent tax hike

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Sleepy Hollow leaders may ask voters to approve a property tax increase that would nearly match what the village already collects.

The village's finance committee recently recommended that the board hold a November referendum asking voters for $400,000 a year for operating and capital costs.

If approved, homeowners would pay an additional $312 per year on average in property taxes, said Mike Tennis, a member of the village's finance committee.

But the village board this week postponed the discussion because three trustees were absent, Village President Stephen Pickett said.

"Something like that I feel like the entire board needs to be present if they're going to make a motion on that," Pickett said.

The village's proposed budget is $1.56 million, which anticipates $521,000 in property tax revenue, Tennis said.

The $400,000 in new taxes would represent a 77 percent increase, said Tennis, who on June 11 cast the lone vote against the committee's recommendation.

"I just don't believe there's that level of urgency, because the village finances aren't as strong as they used to be, but they're still stronger than most municipalities," Tennis said.

Higher property taxes could affect home values, and the board should wait to see whether state lawmakers carry out a plan to cut state funds doled out to municipalities, he said.

The village's sales tax revenue will start declining in 2016 after a sales tax-sharing agreement with Elgin for Randall Road businesses expires. If other revenue sources don't materialize, the board could reconsider holding the referendum in the fall 2015 or spring 2016 election, he said.

Officials could cut money on their own by curtailing personnel costs, he added.

Finally, Tennis said, trustees should remember they've already implemented water bill increases that will cost residents $80 a year.

Trustees will pick up the referendum discussion at a later date, Pickett said. The board has until August to put it on the November ballot.

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