As Palatine considers a property tax increase for next year, the village plans to study other ways to potentially boost annual revenue.
Palatine's $117 million budget proposed for 2018 includes a recommendation to increase the property tax levy by $925,000, or 4.26 percent, which would come after six consecutive years of reductions or freezes. Village budget documents point the finger at state government for the suggested hike.
"If not for the inability of our state legislators to enact (public safety) pension reform and their outrageous actions of redirecting money from municipalities to fund their epic failures, there would again be no property tax increase," according to Palatine's proposed budget.
Village Manager Reid Ottesen said new alternative revenue sources, such as a natural gas usage tax, should be explored. He said the goal would be to have a finance department analysis ready for a presentation in the middle of next year.
"Let's look at all of our revenues and see what alternatives there could be," Ottesen told the village council this week. "If we're not getting the pension reform that we need out of Springfield, we're going to have to continue to look at revenue sources. We'll look more broadly and comprehensively."
Palatine for the first time plans to use reserve funds to meet an expected $917,000 increase in the public safety pension requirements for 2018. Councilman Tim Millar said it's unlikely new taxes would generate enough revenue to keep up with what are expected to be rising annual police and fire pension expenses.
"You can't put enough tax on everything that we have to cover that kind of an increase," Millar said. "I think we should look at, unfortunately, reducing services or reducing some of our safety costs."
If the 4.26 percent property tax levy increase is approved, Palatine documents say the extra money would be used exclusively to offset $540,000 in pension costs, "a raiding of local government money by the state" projected to total $300,000 and a new $85,000 fee Springfield will charge to collect taxes.
A public hearing on the tentative budget is set for Nov. 20. The village council is scheduled to vote on adoption of the budget and tax levy Dec. 4.
Palatine's new budget will be effective Jan. 1.