Property taxes decreasing in Naperville, but other costs rising

 
 
Posted12/21/2015 5:35 AM

The average Naperville homeowner is expected to owe the city 4 percent less in property taxes next year.

That's a decrease of about $38 for the owner of a $367,000 house, the average in the city, spokeswoman Linda LaCloche said, and it will bring the total owed to the city to $922 from $960.

 

The city approved a $47.9 million property tax levy that doesn't yet look like it's decreasing from last year's total of the same amount.

But in March, the city plans to abate $2 million to taxpayers as part of a compromise that allowed passage of a 0.5 percent home-rule sales tax that will be charged for two years beginning Jan. 1.

Finance Director Rachel Mayer said abatement is expected to occur before homeowners receive their first tax bill in June. That means the bills residents see will be lowered to give back the $2 million total across the city.

The abatement and lower levy come after Naperville in 2014 increased its request for the first time in four years.

The city previously had lowered its total property tax collection from $49 million in 2010 to $46.3 million in 2013.

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But this year's abatement also comes when the cost of living in Naperville is set to increase about $255 a year because of rising garbage fees, electric rates and the new sales tax.

Those increases are expected to help the city begin to pay down $120 million in debt, improve the finances of its electric and water utilities and build back reserves, which are $18 million below the level required by policy.

The garbage fee increase from $2 to $12.35 a month beginning Jan. 1 is expected to charge the average homeowner an additional $124.20 a year. The electric rate increase of 8.3 percent will add an average of $99 a year and the average household is expected to spend $74.56 more on sales tax because of the new 0.5 percent going to the city.

The property tax abatement, council members said this fall, will help balance out these other increasing costs.

In a separate tax levied only on downtown property owners, the city plans to collect $865,000 in 2016 to pay for downtown marketing, maintenance and parking deck operations. This money pays for activities of the Downtown Naperville Alliance, which promotes shopping and dining in the city's historic commercial center, and for maintenance of garages on Chicago and Van Buren avenues.

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