Naperville budget to give $200,000 back to taxpayers
Naperville City Council members who were determined to avoid a property tax increase to support next year's budget have taken it one step further.
The council recently told city staff members to find $200,000 more in cuts that can be abated back to taxpayers next spring as members approved next year's $441 million spending plan. City Manager Doug Krieger said he doesn't know the exact source of the savings that will allow the abatement, but he's confident the money can be found.
The $200,000 abatement will be in addition to $2 million that will be credited back to taxpayers as part of a deal that allowed Naperville to create a new home-rule sales tax this year. The 0.5 percent tax was approved to last for two years beginning Jan. 1, 2016.
After a month of budget hearings and $3 million in cuts to departmental spending this fall, council member Kevin Coyne said a goal of reducing the tax levy from last year's $46.1 million appeared in reach.
"It's clear we could do at least a modest reduction," Coyne said. "It didn't look like that would be possible at first."
Before promising to abate $200,000, the city also had to adjust to higher pension costs of roughly $14 million total for police and fire contributions.
"We have managed to absorb this additional pension payment and deal with these higher costs," Mayor Steve Chirico said.
Some of the money to pay for higher pension costs will come from the city's food and beverage tax, a move council member Paul Hinterlong said he objected to as he cast the lone "no" vote on the budget.
The $441 million in planned spending is balanced with $446 million in projected revenue.
To support the 2017 budget, the owner of a $410,000 house -- the average in Naperville -- will owe roughly $850 to the city. The council is set to formally approve next year's tax levy at its meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 20, in the municipal center at 400 S. Eagle St.