Carpentersville rejects 24% tax levy hike

 
 
Updated 11/17/2011 6:05 PM

The only part of Carpentersville's proposed property tax levy hike that Trustee Paul Humpfer agreed with was the date on which its public hearing was set.

Tuesday night, by a 3 to 2 vote, the board rejected the resolution outlining a proposed levy that's 24 percent higher than the one the board set last year. But the board's ultimate intent would be to abate any levy increase down to zero percent so there would be no increase passed down to the taxpayers, Village President Ed Ritter said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Trustees Pat Schultz and Doug Marks joined Humpfer in voting against the resolution. Trustees Brad McFeggan and Don Burroway, who supported the levy, were outvoted. Trustee Kay Teeter was absent from Tuesday's meeting and Ritter only votes when the vote is tied.

Humpfer originally wanted to remove the item about the Dec. 6 hearing date from the resolution so the board could vote on that separately, but village attorney James Rhodes said that wasn't allowed. Moments later, the entire resolution was rejected.

Ritter didn't understand why Marks, Schultz and Humpfer were putting off the inevitable vote. Tuesday's action means the levy discussion will continue at 6:30 p.m. next Tuesday at a special board meeting.

"I don't see what we gain," Ritter said.

The board has until Dec. 1 to set the estimated levy before holding the required public hearing Dec. 6 and taking a final vote to set the levy. If the board doesn't hold the hearing on that date, it cannot increase the levy, Rhodes said.

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According to the resolution, the village is seeking to raise more than $13.5 million to fund day-to-day operating expenses, pensions for the police and fire departments, and debt from capital improvement projects.

Finance director Lisa Happ presented figures for all four funds and said those for the pension funds were in flux and are expected to decrease.

After the meeting, Marks said he didn't feel comfortable approving a levy hike based on numbers that could change later.

"I want truth; I want accuracy," Marks said. "If it comes back the same way, I won't change."

Schultz complained Happ didn't give trustees ample time to digest what was being asked of them, as they received the information just days before the vote.

"It's like Christmas," Schultz told Happ. "You know it's coming every year."

It's not the first time Schultz, Marks and Humpfer have united to fight the majority.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Earlier this year, they spent months battling a water rate study, its recommended increases and the expert opinions that drove the study.

The debate lasted months after the board approved the water rate increases.

Their intention was to save the taxpayers as much money as possible, but Ritter said the three were squabbling over chump change when they should have been focused on ways to save millions.

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