For first time in 5 years, Arlington Heights won't raise property tax levy

  • Officials at Arlington Heights village hall say they won't raise property taxes to pay for the 2020 village budget, partly because of a previous budget surplus and bond refinancing.

      Officials at Arlington Heights village hall say they won't raise property taxes to pay for the 2020 village budget, partly because of a previous budget surplus and bond refinancing. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer, 2008

 
 
Posted11/13/2019 5:20 AM

For the first time in five years, Arlington Heights will hold the line on increasing property taxes within its village levy, officials said Tuesday.

During the village board's review of the proposed $177 million budget for 2020, Village Manager Randy Recklaus pointed to a number of "unique circumstances" that led to the flat levy, from use of a $1.5 million budget surplus in 2018 to pay down police and fire pension fund liabilities, to bond refinancing that dropped interest rates from 4% to 1.35%.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

After a village board discussion in March, the village also stepped up its enforcement of vehicle stickers, already netting $400,000, Recklaus said.

Additional 911 funding from the state to Northwest Central Dispatch means Arlington Heights must contribute $217,000 less to the dispatch center, he said.

In addition, there were increases in local use taxes, income taxes and building permit revenues, while health care costs for village employees weren't as high as expected, Recklaus said.

The village represents 12% of an average homeowner's property tax bill, while schools encompass two-thirds.

Arlington Heights Memorial Library officials also presented a flat levy as part of their $16 million budget on Tuesday. Library board Trustee/Treasurer John Supplitt said the library would use reserves and transfers from other funds to pay startup costs of its new Belmont Avenue makerspace, set to open a year from now. Officials are budgeting $1.5 million for the facility in 2020.

While the library has its own elected board, it passes its levy through the village.

Among the big-ticket items in the village's proposed 2020 spending plan is a ramp-up in the replacement of aging water mains at a cost of $4.5 million a year, allowing for at least 1% of the 260-mile system to be replaced annually. To pay for it, trustees last month approved water and sewer rate increases that will average 5.7% per year over the next five years. Plans also call for issuing $8.5 million in bonds.

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Storm sewer upgrades of $3.1 million are planned in the Greenbrier subdivision, providing flood relief to low-lying areas along portions of Roanoke Drive, Concord Drive and Lexington Drive, and discharging to a detention basin west of Verde Drive.

Some $2.2 million of storm sewer improvements are on tap in two sections of the Berkley Square subdivision, for which a $1 million state grant has been identified.

The village also projects spending $6.2 million to resurface or rehab deteriorating streets, and $2.4 million to reconstruct pavement that's worse off.

The budget is a 9.7% reduction over last year's spending, largely due to the refinancing of bonds and completion of police station construction in 2018.

The village board will continue budget discussions at 7 p.m. Thursday with further review of individual department budgets. If needed, a third budget meeting would be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19.

A public hearing and final vote on the budget is in December.

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