Elburn talking tax increase vote for parks

The Elburn village board will talk Monday about asking voters to increase property taxes or sales taxes as its parks commission looks to improve village-owned parks.

The commission submitted a "wish list" of items totaling $160,000 for the 2018-19 fiscal year, Elburn President Jeff Walter said, but the village board has only budgeted about $50,000.

During a budget discussion earlier this month, a trustee said more money is needed for parks and suggested revisiting raising property or sales taxes, Walter said.

So the board will "hash it out" Monday, he said.

Walter said he is not sure if the village could levy a park tax, or if a park district would have to be formed. It might be easiest to increase the sales tax and designate it for park use, he said.

The village owns seven or eight parks, he said, but only three feature play equipment.

The parks commission wants to put benches in more parks, bicycle racks downtown, and bicycle-repair stations in the parks, plus repair a bridge in Prairie Park, among other things, he said.

The board meets at 6:45 p.m. at the village hall, 301 E. North St., for a public hearing on its proposed budget.

In March 2016, voters refused to raise the sales tax charged on goods purchased in the village. The village sought to charge a 1 percent sales tax, to be phased in over four years. The tax would have been charged on general merchandise, not groceries, medicine or titled vehicles.

Elburn is due to get $794,779 in property taxes this year, according to the tentative tax computation report on the Kane County clerk's website. Property taxes account for about 10 percent of its income, according to the proposed budget, and sales tax, 11.8 percent.

The current sales tax rates in Elburn are 7 percent for general merchandise and vehicles, and 1.75 percent for food and qualifying drugs and medical supplies and equipment.

In March 2012, voters refused to establish a property tax to pay for police officers' pensions. The previous year, the village was forced to stop paying police pensions through the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund part of its property tax levy. It had to create its own police pension fund, because it had grown past a population of 5,000.

The village formed a parks commission in February 2017. The village has dedicated its take from video gaming to spending on parks, but that is only about $11,000 a year.

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